Dy­nasty done? War­riors’ run on life sup­port

Down 3-1, hob­bled champs head to Toronto need­ing ma­jor re­ver­sal in for­tune

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - SPORTS - By Janie Mc­Cauley

OAK­LAND, Calif. — Dray­mond Green has said it of­ten: This run by the War­riors won’t last for­ever.

And for­ever could be com­ing up fast. From day one the en­tire team was de­ter­mined to en­joy the ride for as long as pos­si­ble. Coach Steve Kerr preached as much at the start of train­ing camp: Cher­ish this time be­cause it all could change in a hurry once free agency ar­rives come summer.

The ros­ter might look much dif­fer­ent in a mat­ter of months, per­haps a dy­nasty dis­man­tled. Even if gen­eral man­ager Bob My­ers does his best to keep the core to­gether.

The two-time de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons trail the Rap­tors 3-1 in the NBA Fi­nals, with Game 5 on Mon­day night in Toronto. It will now take an im­prob­a­ble up­set.

It’s “im­por­tant to have that pride, to have the faith in what we’re ca­pa­ble of,” Green said.

If the War­riors stave off elim­i­na­tion at Sco­tia­bank Arena, they re­turn to Or­a­cle Arena. Clearly, they don’t want the last two de­feats to be a last­ing memory in Oak­land af­ter 47 sea­sons. The cur­tain is clos­ing at Or­a­cle, with the War­riors mov­ing to the new Chase Cen­ter in San Fran­cisco next sea­son.

The War­riors un­der­stand the stakes, with the sea­son on the brink fol­low­ing star­tling back-to-back losses at home.

The War­riors have been in such a post­sea­son predica­ment be­fore. They ral­lied from down 3-1 to beat the Thun­der in the 2016 West­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nals when Kevin Du­rant was still with the Thun­der only to squan­der a 3-1 ad­van­tage in the fi­nals to the Cava­liers, watching LeBron James and Co., cel­e­brate a Game 7 vic­tory at Or­a­cle.

“We’ve been on the wrong side of his­tory,” War­riors guard Shaun Liv­ingston said. “We look to be on the right side of it now.”

Stephen Curry be­lieves his War­riors have the mind­set to make this hap­pen.

“You don’t suc­ceed the way we have over the course of these years with­out that men­tal­ity,” he said. “So as the se­cond half un­folds and things aren’t go­ing our way, we’re still fight­ing and try­ing to get over the hump. But un­til the fi­nal buzzer sounds and some­body gets four wins, we still have life and have an opportunit­y to win.”

The Rap­tors, for their part, re­al­ize there’s still much to be done.

“It’s not over yet, so I can’t say that we’re bet­ter,” Kawhi Leonard said af­ter a 36-point, 12-re­bound per­for­mance in Fri­day night’s 105-92 Game 4 win.

Kerr has seen many re­mark­able ral­lies and tri­umphs in his five years coach­ing the War­riors. And he is ready for an­other come­back, this time on bas­ket­ball’s big­gest stage.

“You just try to win one game. That’s what we did a few years ago against OKC. Win one game, and then you move for­ward,” Kerr said. “So that’s our fo­cus. We’ll fly to Toronto and take a look at the film, see what we can do bet­ter and try to win. We have won a lot of games over the years, so we’ll try to win an­other one.”


Stephen Curry on the War­riors’ deficit: “... Un­til some­body gets four wins, we still have life and an opportunit­y to win.”

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