Oakland, Calif. — After a record 73 wins and a memorable Game 6 comeback on the road, the Warriors’ goal of getting back to the NBA Finals and defending their title comes down to tonight’s Game 7 at home against the Thunder.
All along, the Warriors have said the numerous team milestones and personal accomplishments they set during this special season won’t matter a bit unless they repeat as champions.
They need one more victory to become the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 postseason deficit.
“I’ve learned that our players are tough, they’re mentally tough,” Coach of the Year Steve Kerr said Sunday, when his team took a day off from film and practice. “I don’t know if I really learned that. I already knew that. But they’ve firmly confirmed that. It’s been a great comeback. Now we still have to play. We still have another game.”
Kerr just wanted his Warriors to grab back some momentum from Kevin Durant and the Thunder. Now, they have it, all right, heading into the decisive game of the Western Conference finals after winning two straight.
When his team won Game 5 on Thursday night, MVP Stephen Curry hollered “We ain’t going home!” — and Golden State wants no part of the Thunder having the last say in the Warriors’ summer plans.
“We got a big one to stay alive, and now we’ve got some momentum. But it can work in reverse,” Kerr said.
“One game changes everything, and we’ve got to come out and play our game and play well to finish the series out.”
Golden State hardly considers this a gimmee just because the team is playing at deafening Oracle Arena, where the Warriors have lost just three times this season.
They have had their problems against Durant, Russell Westbrook and the towering Thunder.
Cleveland vs. Golden State or Oklahoma City
All games on ABC; Games 5-7 if necessary.
Note: If Warriors win Western Conference, they will have home-court advantage and will host Games 1, 2, 5 and 7. If Thunder win Western Conference, Cavaliers will host Games 1, 2, 5 and 7.
Game 1: Thursday, 9 p.m.
Game 2: Sunday, 8 p.m.
Game 3: Wednesday, June 8, 9 p.m.
Game 4: Friday, June 10, 9 p.m.
Game 5: Monday, June 13, 9 p.m.
Game 6: Thursday, June 16, 9 p.m.
Game 7: Sunday, June 19, 8 p.m.