OAKLAND, Calif. — After a record 73 wins and a memorable Game 6 comeback on the road, the Warriors' goal of getting back to the NBA Finals and defending their title comes down to Game 7 at home against the powerful Thunder.
All along, the Warriors have said their numerous team milestones and personal accomplishments won't matter a bit unless they repeat as champions.
They need one more victory to become the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 postseason deficit.
"I've learned that our players are tough, they're mentally tough," coach of the year Steve Kerr said Sunday, when his team took a day off from film and practice. "I don't know if I really learned that. I already knew that. But they've firmly confirmed that. It's been a great comeback. Now we still have to play. We still have another game."
Kerr just wanted his Warriors to grab back some momentum from Kevin Durant and the Thunder. They have it all right, heading into the decisive game of the West final tonight after winning two straight.
The Warriors forced a Game 7 after Klay Thompson made a playoff-record 11 3s and scored 41 Saturday in a 108-101 win at Oklahoma City. Stephen Curry bounced back from a slow start to finish with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
When his team won Game 5 on Thursday, Curry hollered, "We ain't going home!" — and Golden State wants no part of OKC having the last say in the Warriors' summer plans.
"We got a big one (Saturday) night to stay alive, and now we've got some momentum. But it can work in reverse," Kerr said. "One game changes everything, and we've got to come out and play our game and play well to finish the series out."
Golden State hardly considers it a gimme just because it's playing at home, where it has lost just three times this season. The Warriors have had their problems against Durant, Russell Westbrook and the towering Thunder.
Oklahoma City is fueled by trying to reach its first NBA Finals since losing to LeBron James and the Heat in 2012. James and the Cavaliers are waiting on tonight's winner.
"It's going to be a hard game. If we thought (Saturday) was hard, Game 7's going to be even tougher," Curry said.
PLAYER'S DEATH: The shooting death of Pelicans rookie guard Bryce Dejean-Jones rattled the league and raised questions about what led up to the shooting. Dejean-Jones, 23, was shot after kicking down the door of what he mistakenly thought was his girlfriend's apartment in Dallas. "It's shocking this happened," his agent, Scott W. Nichols, said. "Wrong place, wrong time, I think." Police said they would not have more information about the incident until after the Memorial Day holiday.
GRIZZLIES HIRE COACH: The Grizzlies announced the hiring of Heat assistant David Fizdale as head coach and plan to introduce him at a news conference Tuesday. Fizdale, 41, will be a first-time head coach. He has spent the past eight years with the Heat.