The Golden State Warriors lost Game 5, yet gained a great deal of confidence. They seem certain that, despite falling into a 3-2 hole, they’re headed to the NBA Finals.
“We still winning this,” Draymond Green told The Athletic after Friday’s 98-94 loss to the Houston Rockets. “Book it.”
The Rockets certainly left the game in a state of vulnerability. Chris Paul is nursing a hamstring injury. James Harden is probably nursing a damaged ego — he was 0 for 11 from the 3-point line. Of course, the flip-side is that the Rockets’ best player had a bad game, and they still managed to beat the Warriors.
That’s not how the Warriors want to look at it. Here’s more from The Athletic:
“You know what this feels like?” Stephen Curry said to Green, two lockers over.
“Memphis,” Green answered.
“Yup,” Curry said. “This feels like Memphis.”
Then Green, his olive pants on as he buttoned up, smiled as if the nostalgia warmed his soul. The grin came with a sneaky look in his eyes.
“We figured something out in that series,” Green said.
The Memphis series that the Warriors are probably referencing took place in the 2015 NBA Playoffs, when Golden State went down 2-1 in the second round. From Game 4 onward, the Warriors were quick to leave Tony Allen alone to help with marking the rest of the Grizzlies more dangerous offensive players.
That begs the question: Which Rockets player will become this series’ version of Allen? |s it P.J. Tucker? Clint Capela? The answer is not immediately obvious. But the Warriors think they have it.
Still, there’s a glaring flaw in the comparison. The Warriors had wiggle room to figure things out in that series. A 2-1 deficit is obviously much safer than a 3-2 series. That Grizzlies team is less imposing than this Rockets team. But apparently, that series’ turnaround has emboldened the Warriors in their darkest moment of these playoffs.
One game from elimination, they don’t seem to fear the Rockets.