OAKLAND, Calif. – Stephen Curry's hair is a bit longer when the Golden State Warriors' run of NBA Finals appearances began in 2015. His body is also a little spryer. But as the world basketball is very focused on the future of the Warriors – with Kevin Durant approaching the free agency – Curry and his teammates are looking for much like the original group that started in this dynastic run.
"That was when we first learned to play like this," Curry told ESPN on Tuesday night after scoring 36 points on the 116-94 rout of the Portland Trail Blazers at Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. "We're in the flow again."
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the Warriors "the Warriors" all years ago. Over 3-point shooting of Curry or positional versatility of Draymond Green, the identity of the Golden State is formed by its ability to flow. To move the ball. Make the extra pass. Run the screens. Create a collective energy that overwhelms defenses focused on individual matchups. When the Warriors are humming, it is the basketball equivalent to a great jazz band. Each player has solo moments to shine, but they must be united and flow together to raise as a group and win.
Within five periods, all kinds of things are disrupted by this flow. Ego, hubris, pleasure, fatigue. Some refer to Durant's individual intelligence as another force that may interfere. But that would be reducers.
The Warriors can just flow through Durant's fine. They do not need anything.
"Kevin is also angry," explained Warriors assistant coach Bruce Fraser. "But sometimes it's very good that he does not have to throw you to the ball."
Durant's loss due to a leg injury in the past two and a half games, the Warriors have to return to a simpler time. In the way they played before Durant changed the landscape of the NBA in 2016.
The Warriors won the 2015 title like this. Then they won 73 regular season records in the 2015-16 campaign. Curry has won back-to-back rewards at MVP.
This is a hell of a run. The warriors are fun and new and relatable to children with Curry as their baby-face assassin. Winning starts to change that reputation. But Durant really adds that the warriors are convinced.
The Warriors are never more satisfied with being a villain. Their style is very happy, so their collective souls are hurting to find motivation elsewhere.
And with Durant with the past few games, they got the resurrection what it feels like.
"You see morals, as everyone's shoulders are upstairs and smiling," says Curry. "Just aggressive across the floor, if you've set a screen or swing, swing or cut hard, all kinds of stuff. When you create a great shot way, it's fun for everyone. "
Thirteen Warriors appeared on Tuesday's game, and all 13 had a positive effect when they were on the floor. Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala are plus-16, Green, Jonas Jerebko and Quinn Cook are plus-12, and Curry is plus-10.
After relying on their starter to play nearly 40 minutes of a game in the previous series against the Houston Rockets, stealing a lot of minutes from their bank was critical for the Warriors. They are still loaded with star power, but it's not nearly as much as the previous iteration. Thus, as they deep down the playoffs, and while damage to stars like Durant and DeMarcus Cousins mount, it is critical not to overload the remaining stars.
When the Warriors were playing in the flow they found at Game 6 against the Rockets, and again Tuesday against a clear tired Portland team, the rise of the waterfall at all.
"You have the ability to expand the bank and fill up minutes with men who are clearly capable, helping us on the floor at both ends," says Curry. "And you see the trust of their play, you know, whatever the situation, you're contagious, sure."
Looking at that appearance in the past few games is a pleasant fall for the settlers through this whole run. Like the stunning cologne you used in love, it did not feel like this in 2015, but sometimes the whiff was enough.
"That's my favorite game since I owned the team – – except the championships," said Warriors followers Joe Lacob about Game 6 win at Houston. "I've always put Oklahoma City, 2016, Game 6. I love that But it's even more than the team's success, so I've really decided that's my favorite game."
And the feeling, the style of play, continued on Tuesday against the Blazers.
"In the Clippers series the story is that [Durant] is the greatest player in the world, this is Kevin's team, look at it this way We are a team.The word must be TEAM," says Lacob. "When we lost LeBron [James] three to four times When we went out against [James] Harden and Houston.
" The team, compared to the individual. It is a team, as opposed to separation. That's really the story. "