Programming note: Watch "Warriors Playoff Central" Monday at 5 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, and immediately after the final horn in Game 4. Both shows will be streamed live right here.
HOUSTON – The subject was road games, something at which the Warriors embrace and have been successful. And forward Draymond Green had a question.
“How many people does this gym hold?” Green asked after the team’s morning shootaround at Toyota Center, eight hours before Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals between the Warriors and Rockets on Monday night.
Told the arena capacity was between 18,000 and 19,000, Green paused.
“So about 13,000 fans against you,” he said, grinning, “because you know Dub Nation travels strong.
“To shut them up, it’s an amazing feeling. It’s an amazing feeling. You’ve got everybody wanting their guys to win. They’ve got their chants, all of this, all of that. To see the look on their faces, to see them leaving early, that’s the best feeling in the world.”
The Warriors in the regular season had the league’s best road record, 28-13. They’re 5-1 on the road this postseason and are attempting to sweep Houston and clinch a third straight series in an opposing arena.
Green has a theory on why the Warriors are successful on the road, and it makes a lot of sense.
The roster is deep with players accustomed to being doubted or moved or told of their limitations. Stephen Curry was too scrawny. Klay Thompson was too immature. Marreese Speights is on his fourth team.
Green was too chubby, a “tweener” who lacked adequate athleticism.
“When you sit back and evaluate this team, there are a lot of guys like that on this team,” Green said. “You’re talking about myself and Steph. Klay, who had three Division I offers that nobody ever talks about, who’s from LA and didn’t get any looks by California schools, period. Shaun Livingston, who everybody said (couldn’t) come back (from a grotesque knee injury). David Lee was a 30th pick; everybody tends to forget that. Festus (Ezeli) was a 30th pick.
“When you just look at this roster, that’s what it's made up of. And we carry that mentality. Coming in here and winning is the same thing.”
Many of these guys have been motivated since adolescence to silence critics, which has steeled their determination.
Being the underdog, which generally applies to road games, is something they embrace. Defying the odds is a natural comfort zone.