MEMPHIS — The Golden State Warriors anticipated a bodily struggle in Game 2 of their second-round N.B.A. playoff sequence with the Memphis Grizzlies. But to lose that sport, 106-101, and to lose a beloved defender to a fractured elbow? Those occasions they didn’t count on.
It created a mélange of feelings after the sport — anger, disappointment, frustration.
Still, level guard Stephen Curry, the emotional heart of the crew, provided a number of causes Golden State didn’t plan to panic.
“It’s going to be a long three days with that feeling, but we understand what we need to do,” he mentioned.
And additionally: “We’ve been in a lot of different series that’s taken a lot of twists and turns.”
And later: “Lot of adversity, a lot of adrenaline and emotion. We’ve just got to win four games somehow some way.”
The loss, on Tuesday evening, confirmed the problem of the emotional steadiness the Warriors pleasure themselves on having. As they try and win one other championship, they’re lastly attending to play in high-stakes video games after a two-year postseason drought. With that comes the potential for highs, like their emotional 1-point win in Game 1 in opposition to the Grizzlies, but in addition lows, like the way in which they felt after their loss Tuesday. The sequence, which is tied 1-1, will proceed in San Francisco with Game 3 on Saturday.
“Everybody’s bummed out,” Golden State Coach Steve Kerr mentioned. “But it’s the playoffs, so everybody will shower up and we’ll get on the plane and head home. We’re in a good spot.”
The two years throughout which Golden State missed the playoffs made these gamers who had been by the championship years that rather more wistful for the joys of playoff stakes.
“I think it’s almost like a drug in some ways,” mentioned the assistant coach Ron Adams, who has been with the crew since 2014.
Only six gamers from the final N.B.A. finals run, in 2019, stay, however they’ve returned to the playoffs with a deeper understanding of their feelings.
“I got excited after Game 1 because it was such a hard-fought game, but as soon as I went back to the hotel that adrenaline wore off and I realized it’s just one game and it’s a marathon,” guard Klay Thompson, 32, mentioned. “For me, I think I’m a lot more centered than I was our first time doing this.”
He additionally believes some issues haven’t modified, and shouldn’t.
“I’ve been through the biggest battles with Dray, and he embraces those moments, he embraces being the villain,” Thompson mentioned of ahead Draymond Green. “We need that. He really makes us go, and without him, we’re not the Warriors.”
On Tuesday morning, Kerr had mentioned Golden State anticipated Game 2 to be essentially the most bodily sport the crew had performed all season.
It roiled their feelings, with the hostile Grizzlies crowd lifting the house crew. Memphis guard Ja Morant scored 47 factors, together with 18 within the fourth quarter, and the Grizzlies capitalized on Golden State’s errors late. But the opening minutes set a tense tone.
Grizzlies ahead Dillon Brooks was ejected lower than three minutes into the sport, having acquired a flagrant-2 foul after swiping Gary Payton II throughout the pinnacle as Payton was within the air to attempt to make a basket. Payton fractured his elbow when he landed awkwardly.
“I don’t know if it was intentional, but it was dirty,” Kerr mentioned, later accusing Brooks of jeopardizing Payton’s profession.
Green additionally left the sport within the first quarter after Xavier Tillman inadvertently elbowed him within the face. Hearing boos from the group, Green raised his center fingers towards the followers as he left the courtroom to get stitches above his proper eye.
“It felt really good to flip them off,” mentioned Green, who answered different questions concerning the evening in clipped sentences. “You’re going to boo someone that got elbowed in the eye and had blood running down your face? I could’ve had a concussion or anything. So if they’re going to be that nasty, I can be nasty, too. I’m assuming the cheers was because they know I’ll get fined. Great. I make $25 million a year. I should be just fine.”
Green and Grizzlies followers have been already on dangerous phrases coming into the sport. He had been ejected from Game 1 after a tough foul on Memphis ahead Brandon Clarke. On Tuesday, Green returned to the sport at the beginning of the second quarter together with his proper eye practically swollen shut.
All the whereas, Golden State was determining how you can get well from a scorching Grizzlies begin and Payton’s damage.
“It was like 8-0 at the time, so I was trying to get settled in the game,” Curry mentioned. “That play happens. It pisses you off, you have a reaction, understand there’s 45 minutes left in the game. You’ve got to kind of settle back in emotionally. We did a really good job until the fourth quarter.”
It was a marked change from Golden State’s demeanor following the Game 1 win, however that shift is typical in playoff sequence, notably the nearer they’re to the finals.
Curry’s signature emotion is happiness. Lately, as Golden State has superior within the playoffs, because the video games have develop into extra essential and difficult, these round him have seen extra of that.
“Just the simple phrase, ‘You got to love it’; heard him say that a few times,” Bruce Fraser, an assistant coach who works carefully with Curry, mentioned Tuesday morning. “You can feel his energy. He walks around with an energy around him. I know him so well it’s hard for me to describe what that is because I just feel it.”
Being capable of forestall an emotionally taxing loss from altering that has been an element of Golden State’s success up to now.
On Tuesday morning, Thompson spoke not nearly his efforts to remain calm in thrilling moments, but in addition about his improved means to not fear an excessive amount of in additional unfavorable moments. He mentioned he cherished to play in any sport he may, given his two-year absence from the game as he recovered from two leg accidents.
He additionally spoke about his confidence that Golden State may deal with something, as a result of in his years enjoying with Curry and Green, they’ve, he mentioned, “been through everything.”
He recalled a playoff sequence in opposition to the Grizzlies in 2015 and the way aggressively that Memphis crew performed. Golden State additionally misplaced Game 2 of that sequence earlier than successful it on the way in which to Thompson, Curry and Green’s first championship. That’s to not say the conditions are equivalent. In 2015, Golden State was the highest seed within the Western Conference, whereas Memphis was fifth. This season, the Grizzlies had the second-best file within the N.B.A., whereas Golden State was third.
Those sorts of experiences, although, assist maintain feelings secure.
After Tuesday’s sport, Curry spoke with reporters earlier than he even modified out of his sport uniform. Still, he already appeared to be shifting previous the emotion of the sport. He exhibited the cerebral high quality that leads the remainder of his crew.
“It’s in our DNA,” Curry mentioned when requested how Golden State would get well from this loss. “We know what to do.”