Citing how the Warriors rebounded from their 39-point loss in Game 5 at the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round and after a 10-point defeat at the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals before closing out both teams in the ensuing game, Curry said he has seen proof of resilience this season.
“Even moments throughout the regular season where things are starting to get away from us a little bit at times,” Curry said after practice on Saturday. “And kind of have your ‘come-to-Jesus’ moment, like we need to play right.
“How are we going to flip the script and get things back on the right track? We usually responded pretty well.”
After suffering a fourth-quarter meltdown and dropping Game 1 of the NBA Finals to the Boston Celtics at home on Thursday, the Warriors lost a series-opening game for only the third time in the Steve Kerr era. But for this current collection of Warriors, it is the first time they’ve been down 0-1 in a best-of-seven series.
“It’s the first time for a lot of things with this particular group,” Curry said of a team that features players such as Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole making their NBA Finals debut. “We are here in the Finals for a reason, because we figured it out along the way. If we’re going to get back in this series, we’ve got to figure it out again.”
Asked if this qualifies as one of those moments of truth, Curry replied emphatically, “Absolutely.”
The Warriors will look to defend the Celtics’ 3-point shooters much better after surrendering 21 treys in Game 1, including nine in the fourth quarter.
“We have to play with more force on the defensive end,” said Draymond Green, who has held himself accountable for not playing up to his standards in Game 1. “I think there were times in the game when they didn’t feel us; when you’re playing against a great team at this level at this point in the season, they have to feel you every possession.
“We just have to make sure they feel us every possession.”
The Warriors could utilize defender Gary Payton II in Game 2. Payton did not play in Game 1, although he was available after being out with a broken elbow since Game 2 of the second round against Memphis. Kerr, who played Andre Iguodala 12 minutes in Game 1 after the veteran hadn’t played since Game 4 of the first round at the Denver Nuggets due to a neck injury, said Payton is feeling better and that he anticipates using him more.
Golden State forward Otto Porter Jr. called Game 2 “a must-win” three times after practice. The Warriors will be looking toward their championship-experienced core to lead the way. Curry, Green and Klay Thompson all expressed confidence in the Warriors’ ability to bounce back with the championship on the line.
“Draymond and Steph have been in the Finals six times now,” Kerr said. “They have seen it all. They have seen everything. They have won championships. They have lost championships. They have had their heart broken. They have had parades. This is all part of it. So that’s the right mental approach, and that’s one that’s born out of experience.”
Thompson said he is excited for Game 2.
“I need to make more shots,” said Thompson, who made 6 of 14 shots in Game 1. “I need to take more shots. I need to get more stops. I need to just be myself. Yeah, that would be one of the greatest to ever shoot it, so I’ll rely on that.
“We are going to play with desperation tomorrow, and I think that’s when we are at our best.”