If the Golden State Warriors can beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in early hours of Tuesday – live on SuperSport – in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, it will become the tenth team to rally from a 3-1 deficit.
After beating the Thunder 108-101, on the road, on Saturday night, the defending champions Warriors return home looking to close out the best-of-seven series and reach the NBA Finals for the second season in a row.
In Game 6, the Thunder looked to be with a foot in the Finals, but somehow, the Warriors refused to end the season, and therefore it can now join nine other teams who rallied from 3-1 to win the series.
Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson buried an NBA-record 11 three-pointers en route to a game-high 41 points, reigning MVP Stephen Curry added 31 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, obliterating the Thunder who were paced by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook who combined for 57 points.
It’s history in the making now.
Boston (1968), Lakers (1970), Bullets (1979), Boston (1981), Houston (1995), Miami (1997), Detroit (2003), Phoenix (2006) and Houston (2015), all faced elimination but entered the history books with tenacious comebacks.
Now the general feeling among Warriors and Thunder is simple: “win or home.”
Although the Thunder is a perfect 2-0 in Game 7, it will need to remain as good as it opened the series winning Game 1 at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
Historically, teams playing a Game 7 on the road after having held a 3-1 series lead are 7-7 all-time in the postseason.
“Win or go home. Simple as that,” Thunder guard Westbrook told the media after Game 6.
Durant, on the other hand, insists they need to stick to their game plan.
“Our energy level and our sense of urgency, it has been there the whole series, and we’ve got to keep it that way. But we’ve got to stay confident as well.”
Despite losing only one home game in the postseason (Game 1 against the Thunder), and closing the regular season with a 39-2 home record, the Warriors remain cautious.
“Our crowd’s not going to be enough. They’ll help, but we’ve got to play a great game,” said head coach Steve Kerr.
“So we feel a lot better now than we did a few days ago, obviously. But doesn’t guarantee anything. Momentum can change. We still have to battle like crazy against this team on every possession, because they’re so athletic, so big. Just getting a rebound against these guys seems like a tall task.
So we’ve got to fight, we’ve got to scrap, and come up with loose balls and rebounds and see what happens. But it’s nice to be going home.”
Talking about Game 7, Curry added: “Everybody on both sides of the ball is going to leave it all out on the floor. It’s win or go home. So we can’t expect just because we’re at home that we can just show up and win. We have to play our best game and be physical, and be smart and execute our game plan 100 percent for a full 48 minutes, feed off our home crowd and give them something to cheer about.”
The winner of Game 7 between Warriors and Thunder will face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2015-16 NBA Finals.