CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The top-seeded Golden State Warriors are feeling an unfamiliar sense of urgency to sort out their offensive woes in time to even up the best-of-seven NBA Finals with the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers.
Cleveland silenced league Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry and the Warriors’ run-and-gun offense for the bulk of Tuesday’s Game Three to open up a 2-1 series lead that will surely test Golden State’s resolve.
“I’ve always been challenged my whole career not to let made or missed shots affect what else you do on the floor,” Curry said on Wednesday.
“It’s not a good trait for any basketball player to kind of have your game reflect whether you’re making or missing shots.”
Curry had a horrendous start to Game Three but somehow found a rhythm late and finished with a team-high 27 points as Golden State clawed back from a 20-point deficit to trail by one late in the final quarter.
According to Curry, bringing that momentum into Thursday’s Game Four will be crucial to helping his team avoid being pushed into a do-or-die situation for the first time in these playoffs.
”It does help to see shots go in, and you start to build a rhythm and build momentum,“ said Curry. ”Everybody feeds off seeing the ball go in the basket and you start to feel better about yourself.
“If for some reason it doesn’t go that way, we still have to find a way to impact the game and not let that affect your defense. Not let it affect your body language, not let it affect your activity level on the floor.”
The Warriors have overcome adversity before. Their second-round playoff clash with the Memphis Grizzlies followed a similar script to the Finals in that they opened with a win before losing the next two games. Golden State went on to win the next three games to advance.
While the Cavaliers represent a much tougher challenge than the Grizzlies, the Warriors are not about to overreact to a pair of losses that truly could have gone either way.
“We’re one win away from being right back where we need to be,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
“We’ve been in this situation as we talked about with Memphis. So it’s a day to regroup and see what we can do better and get our heads up and be ready for tomorrow.”
Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes