One would think playing the defending NBA champions on the road would be a tougher task than playing them in your own gym.
The Warriors, however, are on a different sort of streak now than when they went into Miami on Dec. 12. Golden State had won the first four games of a lengthy road trip and beat the Heat 97-95 on a last-minute score by Draymond Green.
Now, Golden State has lost three of its past four during a tough January schedule that includes nine games against likely playoff teams. They welcome the Heat to Oracle Arena tonight.
“We’re not going to panic,” coach Mark Jackson said Tuesday. “We’re not going to let go of the rope. We’re a together group through highs and lows, and we’ll continue to respond and bounce back and continue to chug along the way.”
The Heat have hit their own rough patch, losing three of four on their current road trip, and are sure to remember the bitter loss at the hands of the Warriors a month ago.
Warriors forward David Lee said the team didn’t put too much stock in the previous matchup, however.
“I think nationally it, not put us on the map, but got people talking at least a little bit,” he said. “For us, as a player and our coaching staff, it’s good to have that happen, but our whole goal is to keep winning games. So it’s nice when that’s a part of it, that national spotlight for a couple days, but for us it’s more important for us to keep winning games and if that comes along with it, then that’s great.”
Lee said he wasn’t even aware the team had lost three of four, preferring instead to put the past behind them, win or lose, and focus on the next game.
“If we’re going to say as a team that when we win a game, that we’re not all of a sudden overconfident,” he said, “well the opposite has got to be true, too. When we lose a game, we can’t all of a sudden say we’re going to change up who we are and everybody sucks and we’re the worst. That’s not the way you have to be. You have to stay even keeled and not let one game turn into two or three.”
A key question going into the game will be the health of Stephen Curry, who injured his leg in the loss to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday and did not practice Tuesday. Jackson said the day of rest was just precautionary and that the team will evaluate his condition again today.