SAN FRANCISCO — Not long after the Golden State Warriors‘ fourth-quarter meltdown to drop a rare Game 1 in the coach Steve Kerr era, a relaxed Draymond Green began setting the tone for the team entering Game 2.
“It’s fine,” Green said after the Boston Celtics stunned the Warriors 120-108. “You get a chance to do something else, do it in a different way, embrace the challenge. We’ve always embraced challenges. It’s no different. We’ll embrace this one. So no, it’s not a hit to the confidence at all not one bit.
“… It’s just nothing to panic about.”
For only the third time in the Kerr era, the Warriors lost a series opener. They were 21-2 in Game 1s entering Thursday night. And the Warriors were on track to win another Game 1 when they went up 87-72 with 2:10 remaining in the third quarter.
But then they were blindsided by a 48-18 run by the Celtics, who drilled nine 3-pointers and scored 40 points in the fourth quarter.
“Obviously everybody is down,” Kerr said. “You want to go out and win the first one. We had every opportunity, 12-point lead going into the fourth. Guys are bummed, as you would expect. But it’s a seven-game series for a reason. I think you give Boston credit. They came in and earned the win. Played a great fourth quarter. We’ll come in, watch the film and see where we can get better, and you know, it’s one game.”
This is the first time this postseason these Warriors have fallen behind 1-0 in a series. In fact, it was their first home loss this postseason, dropping them to 9-1 at Chase Center during this run.
The Warriors have been in this position twice before. They lost Game 1 during the 2016 Western Conference finals to the Oklahoma City Thunder. And they lost Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors. In both cases, the Warriors won Game 2. They came back from down 3-1 to beat the Thunder but lost in six games to the Raptors in their previous Finals appearance.
And they also know they’ve won at least one road playoff game in an NBA-record 26 straight playoff series. Game 2 is at Chase Center on Sunday.
“I remember just putting [those Game 1 losses] past us,” said Klay Thompson, who shot 6-for-14 and scored 15 points. “There’s no reason to hold on to a loss when you have another game so soon. I remember watching film and realizing, there’s many things we can do better, and applying those strategies.
“So it’s pretty simple. And I just know we’ll be better Game 2. I’ll be better.”
The last time the Warriors rebounded from a shocking loss was when they eliminated the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 6 after losing Game 5 by 39 points.
But even then, they led 3-2 in the series. Now, they find themselves down 1-0 in a must-win situation at home on Sunday to avoid a 2-0 hole heading to Boston.
“It’s not ideal,” said Stephen Curry, who scored 21 points in the first quarter before finishing with 34 points. “But I believe in who we are and how we deal with adversity, how we responded all year, how we’ve responded in the playoffs after a loss. So learn a lot from that fourth quarter.”
The Warriors have two days to make their adjustments.
“We know they are a good team,” Curry said. “So are we. We have to respond on Sunday.”