Warriors aware of challenge to knock out Celtics, call making NBA Finals ‘hardest game you’ll play’

Warriors aware of challenge to knock out Celtics, call making NBA Finals ‘hardest game you’ll play’

Warriors aware of challenge to knock out Celtics, call making NBA Finals ‘hardest game you’ll play’

The Golden State Warriors are one win away from their fourth championship in the past eight years, but they know that finishing the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night will be their toughest task of the season.

“We know [the Celtics are] “I’m going to play with a sense of desperation,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson told ESPN on Wednesday. “So to match or exceed that will be the most effort we’ve had to put in all year.”

The effort required is not lost on the rest of the Warriors. “Clinching is probably the hardest game you will play,” added veteran striker Andre Iguodala.

While the task won’t be easy, the Warriors have the benefit of experience as their core of Steph Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Kevon Looney and coach Steve Kerr all played in five consecutive finals from 2015 to 2019. That experience is something the Celtics don’t have; none of their players had previous Finals experience.

“You just understand how the nerves are,” Curry said of the close-out opportunity. “We understand the details of how to approach the game from a physical perspective, our game plan adjustments from Game 5 to Game 6, understand how the building will feel, that energy, be prepared for it.”

As a team, the Warriors are doing their best to embrace the moment, especially the guys playing in their first final.

“I’m excited, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” says Andrew Wiggins said about the magnitude of Game 6† “Something I’ve worked hard for, this whole team has worked hard for, so I’m excited.” However, the message to embrace the moment isn’t limited to the guys who’ve never been to the finals before, as those who’ve been there before realize how special it is — and how a return trip is never promised.

“At the end of the day, once you’re there, you just have to be in the moment,” Curry said. “You have to be present as much as possible, not worry about the consequences of a win or a loss. The only chance you have is those 48 minutes. The more you can trick your mind into being in the moment and staying there “That’s the best advice I can give to someone in that situation because it’s going to be the hardest game you’ve probably ever played in your career because of what’s at stake.”

When Curry struggled in Game 5 — he went an unusual 0 for 9 from long range — the pieces around him went up in a significant way. Wiggins had his best postseason game of the postseason with 26 points and 13 rebounds, Thompson struck and dropped 21 points himself, and Jordan Poole and Gary Payton II combined for 29 points on the bench. If Golden State gets similar contributions from those players in Game 6, Warriors fans should get ready to pop the champagne.

“I feel great focus and confidence”, coach Steve Kerr said: Thursday leading up to Game 6. “I think our guys are in a good place heading into tonight.”

At the very least, it looks like Golden State has the right mindset towards a close-out opportunity.