Warriors Vow Stick Toeter After ame 1 Loss

 

SAN FRANCISCO — Moments after clearing his bench 48.3 seconds before double-digit losses became official, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr approached his star player.

It's understandable that Kerr felt compelled to scold them as the Warriors ended up losing 120-108 to the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals on Thursday. Instead, Kerr gave them a handshake, fist or light hug. The moment captured what the Warriors believed they could count on to ensure a different outcome in Game 2 on Sunday (8 ET, ABC).

"We stick together through the ups and downs, wins and losses," Warriors guard Klay Thompson said. "We're not going to be divided because we didn't play the way we wanted. We're just going to keep playing as hard as we can. And I just know that if we do that, we'll get better.”

The reason for the Warriors optimism? Their star players not only have the experience of winning three NBA titles in five Finals appearances, they also have a proven track record of making amends.

The Warriors have dropped to 21-3 in Game 1 since 2015, but they responded quickly after another two losses. Following a six-point loss to Oklahoma City in Game 1 of the 2016 Western Conference semifinals, the Warriors hit back with a 27-point win in Game 2. After a nine-point loss to Toronto in Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals, the Warriors adjusted to a five-point win in Game 2. As for the current Warriors season? They have not lost consecutive playoffs in the first round (vs Denver), Western semifinals (v Memphis) and Western Conference finals (v Dallas). In the regular season? Different story.

They have a four-game losing streak, a three-game losing streak, a four-game losing streak and a five-game losing streak. But the development coincided with Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green treating overlapping injuries with younger players. Heading into Game 2, the Warriors don't have a roster on their injury report.

 

The Warriors seemed to secure the game into the fourth quarter with a 92-80 advantage. But then the Celtics outperformed the Warriors, 40-16, while the Warriors shot 41.2% and made seven turnovers.

"It's just about trusting each other on both sides of the ball," Thompson said. “I missed some rotations. We just got better as far as being on the ropes together and moving and hitting people who were exposed."

The Warriors were encouraged by Jordan Poole's growth throughout the season during his fourth season. They became even more interested when he emerged as a reliable and closer starter during the playoffs. They saw a different version of Poole in his debut in the Finals. In Game 1, Poole worked nine points on 2-of-7 shots and four turnovers.

 "Boston did a great job at Jordan and put a lot of pressure on him," Kerr said. “There may be some things we can do to help free him. He's a great player. So he will bounce back and play better."

Green vowed to do the same after finishing with just four points while shooting badly both overall (2-for-12) and from 3-point range (0-for-4). The Warriors value Green for his defense, not his shots. However, the Warriors have always wanted Green to remain a scoring threat — both to facilitate Golden State and strengthen defence.

"I will continue to remain aggressive," said Green. "They will fall."

As expected, Curry hardly had the same problem. He stormed with 21 first-quarter points shooting 7-for-9 overall and 6-for-8 on 3-pointers. The Celtics surprisingly left Curry with an undeniable shot or open performance from the pick-and-rolls. However, after the explosion of the first quarter, Curry failed to continue his shooting clinic in the second ( 0-for-2 ), third ( 3-for-8) and fourth (2-for-6 ) quarters.

While Curry sat at 2:25 first of the fourth quarter, the Celtics were 7-0 up. After that, Curry suggested he might need to play more than his 38 minutes.

"It's about winning four games by any means necessary," Curry said. "For 42 minutes, we did enough to win the game, and that's not how basketball works. I think it all starts to come on the table when you look at trying to get ourselves back in the series on Sunday and take it from there.

The Warriors believed they would do just that and acknowledged their frustration after Game 1. However, they said they abstained from pointing fingers and slumping shoulders. Instead, they promised to spend Friday and Saturday discussing adjustments while soaking up match footage and practice drills.

"It's just about being honest about what went wrong and holding each other accountable and coming out with another level of effort and desperation that we need," Curry said.

NBA history isn't exactly on the Warriors' side. The team that won Game 1 of the Finals ended up winning the series 70.7% of the time (53-22). Despite this, only eight of the 17 NBA teams have won the NBA title after winning Game 1 on the road. The Warriors also have a recent history that has seen them express relative optimism with their current state.

"The men are disappointed, as you would expect," Kerr said. "But it's a seven-game draw for a reason."

source NBA

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