In a game where the Golden State Warriors needed to keep the ultimate poise, the defending champions started off with anything but poise, getting poor looks, taking poor shots, and turning the ball over throughout the first half.
The disarray was so uncharacteristic of a team with championship pedigree, that it even had their coach thinking things over.
“I was thinking about resigning,” Steve Kerr said of his halftime thoughts, according to Ann Killion of The San Francisco Chronicle after watching his team come “unglued. … We lost our composure. I didn’t know what the hell was going on.”
The Warriors had a frustrating start to their first quarter, with Klay Thompson picking up two fouls in less than a minute to start out the game, and there was even a point when Stephen Curry thought the Warriors could have “splintered, to be honest.”
Draymond Green had thrown the ball away, resulting in a careless turnover, James Harden snatched it and went dunked freely, forcing a Kerr timeout.
“We could have done a lot of finger-pointing, but it was really productive,”
Curry said. “It could have been a moment where guys went their separate ways. But the way that we fought all year, the way this team is built with the chemistry we have, got us through that rough patch.”
The Warriors would survive the rest of the half, giving Harden his points in the initial two quarters, knowing he’d tire out at the end, as he has throughout the series.
“We know we can make an 11-point lead evaporate in about two minutes of good basketball,” Klay Thompson said.
Curry would take his turn to catch fire in the third, going 5-of-6 from the floor, including 4-of-5 from deep, and a late 11-point personal run that would set the tone for the game.
“What loosens the game up and gets us going is Steph’s offense,” Kerr said. “He seems to infuse us with energy. That’s when our team really seems to take off.”
Ultimately, resilience paid off for a team that has gone through it all. From locker room player-coach spats to series that have tested their mettle through and through, forcing them to overcome adversity en route to a fourth-straight NBA Finals appearance.