The Golden State Warriors preached patience after a fourth-quarter collapse in Game 1 cost them the chance at a victory. Before Game 2, Klay Thompson was ready for some desperation.
The Warriors had a 12-point lead entering the fourth quarter on Thursday but lost it in a hurry as the Boston Celtics went on a 17-0 run over the final six minutes. Head coach Steve Kerr said the team was not ready to panic, noting that they’re no strangers to being behind in a series.
“We’ve been in this position before and we’ve won series where we’ve lost the first game,” he said.
But Thompson added that the team needed to play the rest of the series with a greater sense of urgency, and there will likely be some changes coming for the remainder of the series.
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Thompson Speaks Out
On the eve of Sunday’s Game 2, Thompson said the Warriors needed to get back to playing with their foot on the gas.
“We are going to play with desperation tomorrow, and I think that’s when we are at our best,” Thompson said, via The Athletic.
Thompson had a strong performance in Game 1, scoring 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting including 3-of-7 from behind the three-point line. But he was also on the court for the fourth-quarter collapse, when the Warriors had no answer for the red-hot three-point shooting of the Celtics.
Steph Curry echoed Thompson’s sentiment ahead of Game 2, noting that the team has had a knack of bouncing back after losses this postseason.
“Look at how we responded from Game 5 to Game 6 in the Memphis series, Game 4 to 5 in the Dallas series,” Curry said. “Even moments throughout the regular season where things are starting to get away from us a little bit at times and kind of have your come-to-Jesus moment, like we need to play right. How are we going to flip the script and get things back on the right track? We usually responded pretty well.”
Kerr added that Curry and fellow veteran Draymond Green can use their experience to bring steady to the team.
“Draymond and Steph have been in the finals six times now,” Kerr said. “They have seen it all. They have seen everything. They have won championships. They have lost championships. They have had their heart broken. They have had parades. This is all part of it. So that’s the right mental approach, and that’s one that’s born out of experience.”
Changes Coming for Warriors
There could be more significant changes coming for Golden State beyond their level of desperation. Curry hinted that he could have an increase in minutes after playing 38 in Game 1, and The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami suggested that he could follow a model from a past appearance in the NBA Finals.
“Here are Curry’s minute totals in the six games against Cleveland in the 2015 Finals: 43, 42, 44, 41, 42, 43. (He averaged 42.5 minutes per game.),” he wrote. “Yes, this was when he was 26, not 34, as he is now. But Kerr maneuvered so much to keep Curry’s energy saved up during lesser moments of this season and this is no longer a lesser moment.”
Kawakami suggested that Curry’s increase in minutes will likely come at the expense of Jordan Poole, who struggled shooting in Game 1. The 22-year-old guard made just two of his seven shots including 1-for-5 behind the three-point arc and turned in a team-low minus-19 in plus-minus over his 25 minutes.