BOSTON — The allure of playing at TD Garden in the NBA Finals is not lost on veteran players like Stephen Curry.
As the Warriors superstar stepped on the court for practice, he looked up at the 17 championship banners and appreciated the team’s history.
“It’s special,” Curry said Tuesday before practice. “Historic team, dynasties from the ’80s, how many championships they won over the course of the year, all the different highlights you watch, just have a different iconic look when you see it on TV.
“There’s a lot of history in this city, in this building. Should be an amazing atmosphere out there on the court tomorrow and Friday.”
Klay Thompson also took a moment before Tuesday’s practice to soak in the moment of playing high stakes basketball on a court where history has been established.
The Warriors have to plow through the Celtics to win their fourth title in eight years, which would further cement Golden State’s place in NBA history during the Curry era. With the series tied 1-1 after Golden State won Game 2, Wednesday’s contest feels like a must-win to some players.
But the key for this series is being able to win on the road. Boston, which has weaponized opponent’s courts all postseason, got the job done in Game 1 after an astonishing fourth-quarter rally.
If history is any indication, getting at least one win amid a sea of green shouldn’t be an issue for the Warriors.
For many teams, playing on an opponent’s home court is a disadvantage but the Warriors have somehow found a way to be successful away from home. Golden State has won at least one road game during a series in 26 consecutive playoff series. This postseason, the Warriors are 4-3 away from Chase Center, and have won each of their first games in their rival’s territory.
Meanwhile, the Celtics have struggled on their home-court, boasting a 2022 postseason record of 5-4.
Coach Steve Kerr said the Warriors’ road success has nothing to do with strategy but is a reflection of the team’s competitive will to win. He also said the team’s lengthy playoff experience helps them better attack their opponents first while in rival territory.
“Our guys understand the importance of making sure you don’t let your guard down in that first playoff game,” Kerr said. “I would expect tomorrow to be really competitive right from the start. We know they’re going to bring a level of physicality that we brought last game. We got to be prepared for that.”
The Warriors got a taste of a hostile road environment when they played the Grizzlies in Memphis for three road games before winning the series in six.
“We always know how to find a way to win games no matter what style it is, high scoring, low scoring, defensive battle, shootout, whatever it is,” Curry said. “We find another level of grit and determination, just an ability to find a way to get it done. Being in hostile environments, you get tested, you get pushed. Our experience kind of shows at the right time.
“Obviously in this situation it’s a must for us to win a championship. We got to be up for that task.”
The Warriors’ keys for success in Game 3 on Wednesday?
“Probably not giving away possessions, limiting turnovers, taking great shots,” Thompson said. “That probably starts with myself. Then playing as hard as we did with Game 2, with that force. We know this team plays very well at home.
“Usually on our championship runs, you have to get a road win or two to complete the mission. This is not a new scenario for us. It comes down to just playing that brand of Warrior basketball that allows us to be successful.
Contributed by local news sources