OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The Golden State Warriors have an emotional storm churning inside them as they head into Thursday night’s Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
For head coach Steve Kerr and his staff it’s a dream checklist for any added motivation, if such thing is needed, for a two-time defending champion that is making its fifth straight appearance in a NBA Finals.
- There is the desire to win for Kevin Durant, who came back in Game 5 after missing nine straight playoff games with an injured calf and then ruptured his Achilles tendon inspiring his team on to a must-win victory.
- There is the desire to continue their quest for a third straight NBA crown that would anoint Golden State as one of the greatest NBA teams of all-time.
- There is the last game at their beloved Oracle Arena and in front of their rabid Oakland fans. The Warriors move to San Francisco next season.
“I don’t think much has to be said about the motivation we have,” Curry told reporters. “To protect our home court, to feed off our crowd’s energy. Play for K and try to keep our season alive. There’s a lot of things you can tap into for energy tomorrow (Thursday night). We’ll be ready.”
The Warriors are also coming off an exhilarating 106-105 Game 5 win. Could the emotional momentum of such a win carry over to Thursday night?
“It’s just a matter if you can capitalize on it (momentum from a win) once the next game starts,” Curry said. “Lock in and focus on details and kind of see the adjustments the other team is going to make, especially in a playoff series because that happens. They watch film. Try to tinker a little bit. Momentum and just confidence in terms of what we are trying to accomplish every possession, every quarter.”
Klay Thompson said fueled by the emotions, he expected the Warriors to leave it all on the court in Game 6.
“I expect us to come out and play as hard as we can,” he said. “We are not even thinking about the future. We are just thinking about enjoying this last show at Oracle. I expect our fans to be the loudest they have ever been, especially in the name of Kevin. Bringing the type of spirit he would bring to the fight and competitiveness. I know our fans will do that because we deserve it and more importantly Kevin does. For what he gave this team, this organization. There wouldn’t be banners if it wasn’t for his presence.”
Kerr also took a few moments to reflect on Oracle’s legacy.
“It (Oracle) has been an incredible building in which to coach and play in … even when the Warriors weren’t any good,” he said. “To come in here as a visitor and feel the energy in the building, you could tell that the fans love the game. This was a basketball hotbed. Just the atmosphere out there, the energy, the noise over the last 5 years with our team’s rise combined with that organic energy … It’s been an incredible atmosphere to coach in.”
As for his favorite memory — Game 5 of the 2015 Western Conference Finals.
“My favorite memory is winning the Western Conference finals in 2015, we beat Houston in Game 5 to advance to the finals,” Kerr said. “It was surreal. We weren’t sure we were good enough to do it. The fans hadn’t seen anything like that in 40 years. That was to me when this all started.”