OAKLAND — Golden State hears your “they blew a 3-1 lead last year in the Finals” talk.
And they shrug.
“Totally different situation. Different team. They’re a different team also,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We’re in a much better position this year. We’re healthy, we got Kevin Durant. That’s a good thing.”
“I haven’t really even thought about last year’s Finals, just because we try to live in the moment right now and enjoy this” Klay Thompson said.
“We won three games in a row in The Finals, 15 in a row overall in the Playoffs, you just think it’s going to happen,” Draymond Green said. “Then all of a sudden you get smacked in the face, and it’s like: Whoa. You remember what can be, what can happen. So it’s great for us to lock back in and come out with that same focus that we came out with earlier in the season.”
Closing out Cleveland will be far from easy. The Cavaliers play their best ball with their backs against the wall, and they are still in that spot — lose and it’s over. Cleveland played with force, physicality, and better ball movement in Game 4, and the Warriors didn’t handle it well. Now Golden State heads home, and there was a confidence around the team at practice, they think they could handle this.
But what if the Cavaliers find a way to win Game 5 on the road Monday night, do things start to snowball on the Warriors again?
“Snowballing? I wouldn’t think of it that way. Just me personally,” Andre Iguodala said. “You try to prepare and do your job at your highest ability to help the team complete that goal. For me, I just think differently. There’s no such thing as pressure. Or if it is pressure, you just embrace it.”
“I mean, you want to win and close the series out,” Green said. ”There’s no added pressure in doing that. That’s just what it is.”
Do the Cavaliers see pressure on the Warriors to win Game 5 lest this start to feel like last year?
“No, I feel like this is the game we got to get,” LeBron James said. “Or it’s over with. I think everybody’s feeling that way.”
The Warriors may be up 3-1 now, but they will remind you they were up 3-0 and no team in NBA history has come from that far back to win a series.
Golden State talked about playing better to start the game, about defending the three-point line better, about making things harder on Cleveland than they did in Game 4. LeBron and Kyrie Irving will hit shots, but can the Warriors get in the body of J.R. Smith early, and can they keep Tristan Thompson off the boards again? Oh, and it would help if Stephen Curry knocked down a few shots.
“Man, for me and I think for our team, we know what the situation we’re in,” Durant said. “We know that anything can happen in this league, and we know that champions just don’t lay down and die…. We can’t worry about the games that happened before, or we can’t worry about what will happen in the future. We just have to stay in the moment and help each other out each and every play, and we’ll see what happens.”