Curry, Warriors insist they’re ready for high-stakes Game 6
OKLAHOMA CITY - Stephen Curry made it plain and clear: The Warriors played “stressed” on their last visit to this Thunder-crazed city, where they lost by 28 points and 24 points and looked utterly overwhelmed by the magnitude of the moment.
Now the moment becomes even bigger.
Curry and the Warriors were back in Chesapeake Energy Arena on Saturday morning, in advance of Game 6 against Oklahoma City. They must win Saturday night to force the series back to Oakland for Game 7.
Curry made his observation after he led the Warriors to their season-saving victory in Game 5. He talked about how he and his teammates play better when they’re having fun on the court, not fretting about the stakes.
Head coach Steve Kerr, asked about this at Saturday’s shootaround, acknowledged the Warriors need to play with joy while also maintaining their sharp focus. This is not easy to pull off, especially in a loud and hostile arena.
“That’s the balance you’re always searching for as a coach, no matter what team you’re talking about,” Kerr said. “Our team in particular seems to thrive on the joy and the fun of playing, and we got back to that in Game 5. Guys were energetic off the bench and everybody was having fun.
“Of course, it’s more fun when you win; it’s tough to have fun when you’re losing by 25. The best way to have fun will be to compete like crazy and enjoy what’s happening on the floor.”
Thursday night’s 120-111 victory was Golden State’s first elimination game in Kerr’s two seasons as coach. Curry and the core of this team also played two elimination games against the Clippers in the first round in 2014, winning Game 6 (in Oakland) to stay alive and then losing Game 7 in Los Angeles.
Saturday night’s challenge is especially daunting, given the presence of OKC stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook - and the Thunder’s thirst to return to the NBA Finals.
“We know what’s at stake,” Curry said. “We can’t lose. We have to be aggressive, be on the attack and expect to win. That’s how you have to go after it in this building. …
“Nobody’s uptight. This is basketball, what we do day in and day out. Guys know the game plan and what we need to do. I think you’ll see we’re ready for the moment, and we’ll enjoy the challenge.”