The Golden State Warriors are facing their second chance to close the NBA Finals, which dominate 3-1, when they face the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 on Monday night and have the full squad available to the Coach Steve Kerr.
A year ago, Warriors general manager Bob Myers sat next to suspended power forward Draymond Green in a suite to watch a baseball game of the Oakland Athletics.
Myers told Green you know what your absence means from the team and will be something that we must keep from happening again.
The Warriors will try again to secure their second championship in three years, this time with Green on the court at the start of the fifth duel.
They have a 3-1 lead in the series of seven possible, again, as they did last year when they then starred in a historic collapse.
Leading forward LeBron James and the Cavaliers, having only been a few days ago in a 0-3 hole, now have some momentum after winning the fourth game (137-116), and will try to avoid eliminating one Again.
“We won three straight games in the final series and 15 overall in the final phase, one just thinks (victory) is going to happen,” Green said. “And then suddenly it’s like you get a smack in the face.”
The Warriors would hardly forget that monumental collapse last year, when Green’s absence in the fifth game due to an accumulation of points for a blatant foul helped to change the course of the series.
The pivot kicked James in the groin in the fourth game of the series, after the Cavaliers’ superstar stepped on him in clear provocation.
Myers decided to accompany Green after being suspended and both of them valued what happened.
“When we were there last year, I think I said, ‘Let’s never do this again, let’s make sure that you’re playing and that I can watch.’ ‘This does not feel right, let’s avoid this, let’s move on,'” Myers recalled.
Green stressed that his conversation with Myers about his suspension is a moment “I remember as if it were yesterday, I will never forget it.”
If the Warriors can clinch a win over the tenacious Cavaliers on Monday, they would become the first San Francisco Bay team to capture a home championship since the A’s beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five 1974 World Baseball Professional Baseball.
James, base Kyrie Irving and power forward Kevin Love know they are not out of this yet: after all, they recovered from the same downside a year ago on the way to the first title of a professional team in the city in 52 years .
Of course it will be a titanic task in Oakland with a motivated forward like Kevin Durant, the new star of the Warriors, who tries to get the first title as a professional.
“We know the champions do not die, they do not give up and will fight hard to keep going,” Durant admitted. “But all we have to do is play our best basketball.”
The Cavs showed what they can do when everything runs on both ends of the field, with a record 86 points in the first half of the fourth game.
They also scored 49 points in the first quarter and finished the game with 24 three-pointers, all of which are new brands in NBA history.
But the Warriors are confident that what happened in the fourth game is not going to happen and that in the fifth will see the best of Golden State team.
“We have already analyzed in detail the video of the fourth game and it is clear that there were some things that escaped our control,” said Kerr. “The history of the match team will be different.”
Within the Warriors there is confidence in everything positive that can do in the field, but what if they know and to perfection is the winning reaction that had the Cavaliers and that will be the one that will have to avoid that it is repeated again.
For their part, the Cavaliers also acknowledged that Cleveland will have nothing to do with the fifth game because everything will be different.
“We have to be twenty times better in their field if we want to win,” admitted James. “Therefore our concentration must be to the maximum, to maintain the calm, not to precipitate us in the shots and above all to make a great defense”.