“We’re a championship ball club,” Green said after the Warriors routed the San Antonio Spurs 113-92 on Saturday in Game 1 of the first-round series. “We know what it takes this time of year in order to win. You know, we want to get back to that, regardless of what everyone is saying. ‘The Warriors have lost it. They are not together. They can’t win without Steph [Curry]. They are not the same team. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.'”
The defending champs won only seven of their final 17 regular-season contests. Some players attributed the poor finish to the Warriors’ having nothing to play for in the final weeks because they had the No. 2 seed locked up. Others admitted to playing timid, with an emphasis on avoiding injuries.
Green, who had 12 points, 8 rebounds and a game-high 11 assists Saturday, cautioned onlookers to not be fooled by how the Warriors finished the regular season.
“We know what we’re capable of,” he said. “You know, there has been games that we’ve won without Steph — a series. Same as Kevin, myself. We’ve won games without myself. We’ve won games without Klay. We’ve won games without our head coach. So we’re primed for this. I think a lot of people have tend to forgot what we’re capable of. We know. We’re going to show that.”
To instill a defensive spark, Warriors coach Steve Kerr started Andre Iguodala at point guard and JaVale McGee at center. San Antonio was held to 40 percent shooting, and McGee suffocated Spurs star LaMarcus Aldridge, who was held to 14 points on 5-of-14 from the field.
“Just wanted to put our best defensive lineup on the floor from the beginning,” Kerr said. “I think the whole point of these games here early in this series is to re-establish our defense. I think you guys know, over the last month or so, our defense has been subpar. [You] can’t win in this league in the playoffs unless you defend, and they defended tonight, and we went with our best defensive group.”
Game 2 is on Monday, and even though the Warriors are short-handed, they are confident that their team-first mentality will carry them through.
“It’s not just one guy who has the ball all the time and making all the plays,” Durant said. “I think that’s the beauty of our team: that all of us can go off and score 30 or get eight, nine assists or grab 11 rebounds. That’s just the beauty of our team, and all of us chip in when it comes to facilitating and orchestrating.”
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