NBA – Reigning champions after two years of trouble, the Warriors want to prove that this is not their “Last Dance”. Like LeBron James, their competitive spirit remains intact.
But these Warriors seem indestructible, like a Klay Thompson returned to his best level after almost three years without playing, or a Kevon Looney who has become the best rebounder in these playoffs. We underestimate the toughness of this group, and we have too often limited it to a team of gifted shooters.
Difficulty to then return to the top
“Who knows what will happen this summer, but we live in a unique time”, admitted Steve Kerr after his press conference. ” I know when we won the title in 2015, it was the first time in 40 years that the Warriors had won a title. I was part of the Bulls in 1998 and they’ve had great teams since. But it’s been 25 years since they returned to the final. This stuff is incredibly difficult, no matter how strong your franchise is. It’s rare to get a group like this together. There is an element of luck. I think you have to take advantage of this chance for as long as possible, because it will inevitably be very difficult to get back to the top. »
You have to take advantage of having a Stephen Curry capable at 35 of coming out of legendary matches. Like Michael Jordan in 1998 precisely. At the same age. Also at 35, LeBron James was going to seek a 4th title in the “bubble”. These players come from another planet, and they want to stay at the top. The longest time possible.
“We talk about the last dance and that’s what kicks things up a notch. This time it’s really special. As we are in the present moment, I have the feeling that it is the most important “ notes Draymond Green about this victory in a Game 7. “Seeing Steph do the game he did, total domination…I’m a basketball fan and, as a fan, I know how to appreciate it. But as a teammate, he’s the guy you want to go to war with. … He left no doubt. This performance by Steph… When you think of everything we’ve been through. We win Game 5 here, we miss a golden opportunity at home, then we come back here, and we play even better than last time. That speaks for itself. »
Don’t bury the Warriors or LeBron too soon
For Steve Kerr, this group is so sure of its strengths that it can afford to make adjustments on the fly. Because precisely, it is a group. After Game 6, he therefore decided to put Green back in the starting lineup.
“Our way of operating, over the years, was to continue on the same path when we win a playoff game,” recalls Steve Kerr. “Last year we beat Denver three times (in the first round) with Steph off the bench, so we kept doing it. The players have understood this. There is a rhythm to follow, especially during the playoffs. If you find something that works, you keep doing it. But when that’s not the case, you have to go back to what you trust the most. And our performance in Game 6 was really poor in many ways, so the decision to go back to the main starting five was a natural one. »
As for knowing if it is the fact of being underestimated or called “old” by the adversaries that motivates them, here is what Stephen Curry answers: “ The competitive spirit is still with us, and we didn’t need words to motivate us, but it helped us to know that they thought they were superior to us with their pace.”.
For Draymond Green, opponents tend to bury them too soon. Like the Grizzlies with LeBron James…
“We have to stop turning our page so quickly. Stop trying to turn the page on LeBron so quickly” launches the strong winger, before evoking this desire to take advantage of every current moment: “We tend to project ourselves on the next step, and not appreciate the present moment properly. And then you take the next step and you’re like, ‘I wish it had continued…’ For me and our guys, we’re going to enjoy every step of this journey”.
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