The confident aura the Warriors are giving off right now might be the only thing brighter than those yellow shirts every home fan is expected to be wearing again for Game 3 against the San Antonio Spurs tonight at ear-piercing Oracle Arena.
Maybe for good reason, too.
The Warriors have outshot, outrebounded and outhustled the Spurs through the first two games of their Western Conference semifinal. And if not for an unprecedented collapse in Game 1, Golden State would be returning to the Bay Area with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series instead of being tied.
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the hot-shooting Warriors have shown no signs of slowing down in the playoffs. The dynamic backcourt duo has left the second-seeded Spurs searching for answers. And while there’s still a long way to go in the series, sixth-seeded Golden State is no long acting like an underdog.
“We’re in the driver’s seat right now. We control our own destiny. I feel like this is our time,” Thompson said Thursday. “We put in so much work and it’s paying off. And it’s just beginning. We’ve got to stay humble.”
At the moment, they’ve sure humbled San Antonio.
The Warriors have held the lead for 95 of 106 minutes, with most of the Spurs’ slim advantages coming in the two overtimes in Game 1, when San Antonio rallied from 16 points down in the final four minutes of regulation to a stunning victory.
Golden State has outrebounded the Spurs 105 to 93, outshot them 48.3 percent to 41.7 percent and outworked — and perhaps outcoached — San Antonio in almost every way imaginable.
“We can’t blame it on just luck,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. “They did a great job, and we did a really poor job. We’ve got to give them credit. They played much better than us, and miracles don’t happen that often. We didn’t deserve Game 1, either. We’ve got to do better over there, because playing like this, we don’t have a chance.”
San Antonio’s championship pedigree is about to really be tested.
“Our confidence is at an all-time high,” Thompson added. “We’ve shown we can beat this team, and we just have to stay humble about it and keep working hard because it’s a long series.”
Golden State already has overcome two major hurdles.
The Warriors rebounded from what could have been a devastating Game 1 collapse. And they “exercised the demons,” as Curry put it, by winning in San Antonio for the first time since Feb. 14, 1997 — four months before the Spurs drafted Tim Duncan out of Wake Forest and began a run that includes four NBA titles.
Even Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, a two-time NBA Coach of the Year, has marveled at what his veteran-laden team is up against. During one television timeout captured on the TNT broadcast in Game 2, he told his team in the huddle: “They got skill. They got talent. We’ve got to be on them.”
“They shot the heck out of it,” Popovich said at the airport before his Spurs boarded a flight to the Bay Area on Thursday. “That’s the difference.”