After losing Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals to the Oklahoma City Thunder, forfeiting home-court advantage in the process, the Golden State Warriors could be discouraged and down on themselves.
But then they wouldn’t be the Golden State Warriors.
Draymond Green, in fact, is almost happy that the Warriors are here, trailing 1-0, their backs up against the wall for the first time of these playoffs. As he told USA Today‘s Sam Amick:
“There wasn’t (any) postgame message,” said Green, who had 23 points, five rebounds and four assists in Game 1. “I saw Steph (Curry) after the game. He smiled and said, ‘We ain’t been here before.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I know. I like this. This will be fun.’
“If you can bounce back from something like this, it makes it all the more sweeter. I’m relishing this opportunity. This is where you see what you’re really made of. This is where you bounce back and everybody is against you and don’t think you can do it and blasé blasé. This is where it gets fun.”
Good god, Draymond. Don’t poke the bear (aka Russell Westbrook).
Seriously, though, almost everyone expects the Warriors to follow up Game 1’s letdown, which included a blown 14-point lead, with a fantastic performance in Game 2. And rightly so.
This Warriors squad hasn’t had it’s back up against the wall much this year, but in the few instances they have, they’ve responded in a big way. They won an NBA-record 73 regular-season games despite sort of fading down the stretch, and they were able to handle business in the first two rounds against the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers despite inconsistent availability from Stephen Curry.
If we’re being honest, even after stealing Game 1 and proving they can win in an environment like Oracle Arena, the Thunder are less likely to win Game 2 than any other contest this series. There is no scientific-speak behind that logic, just a hunch—a gut feeling that the Warriors, even after silencing all their doubters long ago, still thrive off this kind of adversity.