OAKLAND -- The Western Conference Finals have been reduced to this for the Warriors: Win or go home.
When the defending champs take to their home court, Oracle Arena, Thursday night for Game 5, they hope their boisterous crowd can launch them toward the epic comeback required to overcome a 3-1 deficit to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
[RATTO: Warriors now have to cheat powerful reaper: A 3-1 deficit]
The Warriors were, quite simply, routed in Games 3 and 4 in Oklahoma City and realize their chances to repeat are ultra-slim. The Thunder have been the better big team and the better small team, leaving little for which the Warriors can counter.
Yet the Warriors, notably Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, tend to relish in underdog situations. This definitely fits the definition.
Warriors by 7.5
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Stephen Curry vs. Russell Westbrook: Westbrook has been fabulous, playing smart and at peak efficiency while still being explosive. Curry shrugs off the injury chatter, but clearly has had a tough time finding his MVP best. He must find it in Game 5 -- assuming he’s able.
[RELATED: Report: Steph Curry 'playing at 70 percent, at best']
Andre Iguodala/Draymond Green et al vs. Kevin Durant: Iguodala has fared well enough defending KD on the perimeter in halfcourt situations. Green has been unable to find offense against Durant’s smothering D. One of the two needs to bring enough to offset what Durant is giving the Thunder.
Warriors: F Kevon Looney (L hip surgery) is listed as out.
Thunder: No injuries listed.
Ken Mauer (lead), James Capers, Marc Davis. Sean Corbin is the alternate.
ROAD TO THE CONFERENCE FINALS
Warriors: Defeated Houston 4-1 in the first round; defeated Portland 4-1 in conference semifinal.
Thunder: Defeated Dallas 4-1 in the first round; defeated San Antonio 4-2 in conference semifinal.
This is the first postseason meeting between the teams. The Warriors swept three meetings in the regular season and have won seven of 11 over the past two seasons.
“We haven’t competed the last two games. We’ve competed in spurts, but not at the level you need to compete at to win at this point in the season, especially on the road. We’ve got to compete and have fun. Those are the two most important things for us.” – Green on what the Warriors hope to rediscover in Game 5