The Warriors can breathe a little air after shrinking the Western Conference finals series to 3:2 with a 120:111 victory on the Thunder. Curry: “we know what’s ahead of us.” Durant stressed: “The team is not calm”.
When faced with her back against the wall and fighting for its life, Golden State has succeeded yesterday night to regain some breathing room and move the pressure over to Oklahoma City after defeating her 120:111 and bring the Western Conference finals series to 3:2.
“Finally we played like we used to”, said Steph Curry satisfied at the end. “We did not let ourselves play like we’re able to until now in this series, but tonight we played our game. Overall we did what we were supposed to do at home. We know what is yet to come and we know that if we don’t win – we go home “.
Injured or not, Curry has delivered yesterday night. Although he joined his team a little late, he arrived just on time and finished with 31 points. Coach Steve Kerr addressed the issue of injury and stung the media reporting that “Curry is injured and was only playing to 75% of his abilities”: “I think he looked 91% on the court. Curry played really well, he’s going to compete and work hard every night. He had a great game and he helped us win it in the end.”
“I liked our will to play tonight”, he added. “I liked our fight, we played with our backs against the wall, but I knew how this night is going to end. We have a champion team.”
Much has been talked recently about the small ball lineup Oklahoma City’s coach, Billy Donovan, rose against Golden State. He has beaten them with a lineup that allows the switch of any player on any player. Kerr has responded yesterday by going back to the origins and played almost 30 minutes with Andrew Bogut on the court, forcing the Thunder to play much more with Stephen Adams who finds it difficult to switch on guards, and for a few minutes in the first half, Golden State also played with Bogut and Festus Ezeli together in a big lineup.
Conversely, Oklahoma City seemed pretty close throughout the entire game. Though she did not deliver her best game, but can still be encouraged. Incidentally, after the Golden State has lost twice in a row in two previous games, only one group remained still not lost for two consecutive games in the playoffs – Oklahoma City. To remain such, OKC will have to change many things for the game on Saturday.
“We didn’t score particularly well and in good percentage when we had the chance in the paint,” said Donovan. “We had our opportunities and we missed, but I am proud of our players who continued fighting until the end. I think the main difference was the free-throws. They went to the line 34 times and decided the game.”
Even on game 5 the battle between the two was decided in the end inside the paint. In all its losses, Golden State lost the battle for rebounds. This time she achieved a tie on rebounds and completely dominated under the basket, 48 pts in the paint to Golden State vs. Oklahoma City’s 30, and on the bench there was an even greater gap – 30 bench points for the Warriors compared to 13 only to that of the Thunder.
Marreese Speights, who entered during the second half, was particularly noticeable and provided nine points in 4 minutes. “Their bench came in and made their points,” said Kevin Durant. “We know that we are now returning home, but we cannot be relaxed even for a minute.”