Steph: Warriors playing with 'sense of urgency' after lost seasons
There's a sense of ease that evidently comes from having appeared in five straight NBA Finals series. But with a litany of injuries shattering that streak after 2019, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry appreciates how fortunate he and teammates Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are to be back in the mix in the Western Conference finals.
"We're super comfortable on this stage," Curry said after the Warriors' 112-87 win over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1. "It's more so just the understanding that because we've been away for two years and this is a different team ... there's more gratitude of being back here, and there's more of a sense of urgency of not letting this opportunity slip away."
It's been 1,071 days since Game 6 of the 2019 Finals, where an increasingly injured Warriors team fell to the Toronto Raptors.
In the three regular seasons since their most-recent Finals, Curry, Green, and Thompson have collectively appeared in just 316 of 657 games. In particular, a pair of major lower-body injuries cost Thompson the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, while a hand injury wiped out all but five games of Curry's 2019-20 season. Green's injuries have been more varied but still a consistent presence over the past three years.
Now, having dominated Game 1 against a Luka Doncic-led Mavs team big on promise but short on deep playoff experience, Golden State's star trio is just three wins away from a sixth Finals appearance - and seven wins away from a fourth championship win.
For now, anyway, Curry says he's just relishing the moment.
"Who knows how it plays out, but I'm enjoying every bit of this. I know Klay is as well, Draymond is, because we haven't played meaningful games at this time of year in two years," the 34-year-old future Hall of Famer added. "It's special. That level of comfort when we're out there, it's shown itself these last two series, and hopefully, it will continue to be a key for us to kind of fall back on that experience of what it takes to win tough playoff games."