OKLAHOMA CITY -– The Warriors say the memories don’t matter. Not now. Not in the postseason, when a trip to the NBA Finals is on the line.
No, they go into Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on Sunday hoping to create fresh and wonderful memories.
But, oh, what memories they have of their last trip to Oklahoma City in February.
There was Draymond Green’s halftime tirade, during which he yelled at coach Steve Kerr and threatened to not play the second half.
Green did play after halftime, and quite well.
“I think it's definitely helped us grow,” Green said Saturday of the much-publicized locker room incident. “I think it's helped this team grow.
“It's something we joked about coming in here today. “
And there was, in the third quarter, Stephen Curry’s grotesquely rolled ankle, which looked as if it would force him to miss the rest of the game.
It didn’t, and he ended up being the hero.
To recap, Curry was driving to the basket and went up, and when he came down Thunder guard Russell Westbrook landed his left ankle, which twisted. Curry departed with 10:29 left in the third quarter, had his ankle re-taped, and returned with 5:10 left in the quarter.
He scored 11 points over the final 4:04 of the quarter.
He scored 8 points in eight minutes in the fourth quarter and 12 points in the five-minute overtime –- including the unforgettable game-winning jumper, a soaring 3-pointer from 37 feet with 0.6 seconds remaining.
That’s 31 points over the final 21 minutes –- including perhaps the most memorable regular-season shot of this Warriors season, if not Curry’s career.
“Honestly, I walked off the bus and didn't even think about it once,” Curry said. “I got out here, and obviously know where the shot was and all that kind of stuff, but it doesn't mean anything when it comes to rollover effect to tomorrow.”
Curry is right insofar as that game, on Feb. 27, was one of many extraordinary games the Warriors have played and among many spectacular games Curry has delivered this season.
And Green’s tirade, which his teammates indeed regurgitated for their own entertainment, was but another touchstone moment for a player whose relentless drive sometimes scorches all in its path.
Maybe Curry and Green and all of the Warriors can wipe those memories from their minds on Sunday.
Don’t count on the Thunder and their fans to forget any of it, most particularly Curry’s miracle shot.