Programming note: Watch Warriors Playoff Central today at 4:30pm on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.
OKLAHOMA CITY – With their team intact, the Warriors set out to prove that their Game 3 loss to the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals was a one-night speed bump on their path to repeating as NBA champions.
They have come together in the belief that Game 4 on Tuesday night is a game of “must-win” significance, requiring their full investment.
“That’s what championship teams do,” Stephen Curry said after the morning shootaround. “That’s the mentality you have to have in the playoffs, that every game is the most important game for us.
“You can’t really focus on what’s going to happen tomorrow. Like Apollo Creed said, ‘There is no tomorrow.’ That’s basically how you’ve got to think.”
A Warriors loss would leave them one loss away from elimination. A victory, however, would even the series at two games apiece and, moreover, allow them to return to Oakland knowing Oklahoma City would have to win another game at Oracle Arena to take the series.
Asked if he was contemplating lineup or rotation changes after a 133-105 shellacking in Game 3, coach Steve Kerr volunteered nothing but was confident that his team would recover.
“The fact that we had this experience twice last year, being down 2-1 on the road and needing a win to get homecourt back, definitely helps,” he said. “It doesn’t guarantee anything, but I’m very confident that we will play a much better game.”
The Warriors have dedicated most of the past two days to video review and reminding themselves how they have to play if they want to advance. Practice on Monday was light, as was the workout Tuesday morning.
The mission at this point is very clearly defined.
“We’ve got 48 minutes to make this a three-game series and reclaim homecourt advantage,” Curry said. “All things considered, if we’re able to do that, we’re in pretty good position.
“It doesn’t matter what the score was last game . . . it’s a fresh start tonight. I think we’re ready for the moment.”