Letdown isn’t an option for Warriors 

Stephen Curry and the Warriors won't let up heading into Game 2 of the NBA Finals. - BEN MARGOT/AP FILE PHOTO
  • Ben Margot/AP FIle photo
  • Stephen Curry and the Warriors won't let up heading into Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Oakland — As the Warriors are closing in on their final destination, coach Steve Kerr can't comprehend the idea of letting off the pedal in Game 2 of the NBA Finals today.

The Warriors own a 1-0 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the best-of-seven series and the Cavs will be without star guard Kyrie Irving, who underwent surgery on a fractured left kneecap in Cleveland on Saturday, today.

"If we have a letdown in the Finals, there is something fundamentally flawed with us each individually and as a team," Kerr told reporters.

Watching a frustrated Stephen Curry fly around the court at Oracle Arena confirmed that Kerr was spot on in his assessment. The reigning Most Valuable Player, who was decked out in a gray cutoff, blue shorts and bright yellow sneakers, was visibly agitated as he ranged around the 3-point line during the team shootaround.

"I was playing a shooting game with myself and I kept losing," Curry said when asked to explain his sour mood. "So, I had to keep starting over. I'm pretty competitive, so the drill that I was doing, I do it every shootaround or after every practice pretty much. It usually doesn't take me that long to finish it. So, I was just a little frustrated trying to get through it."

It's that relentless competitiveness and drive — even during practice — that makes complacency a foreign concept to Curry and the rest of the squad.

"The mood in out locker room has been the same," Curry said. "It feels the same today as it did yesterday and before Game 1."

Occupying the driver's seat is nothing new for the Warriors after they opened up 3-0 advantages in two of their first three playoff series this year. Even with Warriors catching a few big breaks along the way, Draymond Green pointed out that it's never wise to underestimate a team that has LeBron James, a two-time league champion.

"This is a great ballclub. Anytime you have a player like LeBron and the supporting cast that they have, you can win ballgames," Green said. "So we've got to make sure we come in with the focus level needed in order to win this series."

With Irving sidelined — he was a factor with 23 points in Game 1 — Curry expects James to be become more of a facilitator after he launched 38 shots and scored 44 points in Game 1.

"LeBron's going to look to probably move the ball more and get everybody some better looks," Curry said.

One of those players could be Matthew Dellavedova, who is expected to start in Irving's place. Channeling former coach Mark Jackson, Curry offered praise for the St. Mary's product, referring to him as a "knockdown shooter."

Curry cautioned that, if his team pays too much attention to James, Dellavedova could make his mark on the series.

"So if you got him easy looks worrying about LeBron and sending extra help when you really don't need to, he can definitely kill you," Curry said. And that's what he's shown in the last couple series."

As Kerr noted, all it takes is a single shot to change the complexion of a game or even the series.

"I mean we're lucky to be up 1-0," Kerr said. "We're one inch away from being down 1-0. [Iman] Shumpert's shot looked like it was in the whole way. We made a ton of mistakes in Game 1."

While Green agreed with Kerr's assessment, he also drew a positive from the mistake-filled victory.

"To not play your best and win the game? That says a lot," Green said.

In Game 2, the Warriors have an opportunity to say even more about whether the series will be a short or a long one.

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Karl Buscheck

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