The Golden State Warriors return to Oklahoma City tonight for the first time since Stephen Curry hit the most memorable shot of the regular season — a 37-foot heave to beat the overtime buzzer.
The Champs, coming off a similarly outstanding performance from the MVP, will hope his hot shooting continues into Game 3 so they can reclaim the home-court advantage surrendered by losing the series opener.
“When you go up 2-0, you’ve got a little room for error,” Draymond Green said at practice on Friday. “So we don’t really have that room. So there can’t be any complacency, which I’m not sure you want to lose a Game 1 for that to happen. But I think that can help us a lot.”
The Warriors found success attacking superstar Kevin Durant on the defensive end of the floor throughout Game 2. Ultimately, they held the lanky scorer to just six points on five shots in the second half after scoring 23 points in the first half.
Golden State created an advantage when Andre Roberson was on the floor by ignoring him and sending two or three defenders at Durant. With everyone knowing Roberson’s reputation as a poor shooter, head coach Steve Kerr put Green “on” Roberson, which allowed the Warriors’ do-everything forward to roam, double-team or crowd the paint to slow the drives of the usually overwhelming Russell Westbrook.
“Every game you sort of pick your spots and [Roberson] a really important player for them and a hell of a defender,” Kerr said. “We’ve got a game plan for him just like we’ve got a game plan for everybody.”
The Thunder’s clear interior size advantage of Steven Adams, Serge Ibaka and Enes Kanter looked to play a large role after Game 1. But the trio of big men took a step back and produced their worst collective performance this postseason as the Thunder were outrebounded 45-36 in Game 2.
That’s a cause for concern for the Thunder, a team that has rejected the trend of going small. The Dubs got second- and third-chance points thanks to 15 offensive rebounds, and more importantly were still able to dominate with the undersized Green at the center.
“[Green’s] IQ is great enough that whatever lineup they throw out there, he can find a way to impact the possession,” Curry said.
No matter how they do it, the Dubs were clear that the mission is to win a game in front of a raucous OKC crowd.
“It’s definitely one of the loudest venues in the league,” Kerr said. “… It will be a lot of fun to be there and facing a great team on their home floor. That is the best challenge there is.”