By Ben Morse, CNN
Five preseason games, 82 regular season games, and 21 and 23 playoff games respectively; that’s what matters.
On Thursday night, the Golden State Warriors play the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Finals, with the Dubs taking a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven series.
That means they’re just one win away from claiming the organization’s fourth title in eight seasons – and seventh overall – and cementing the legacy of their core: Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.
Curry has held this position many times and hopes to draw on this past experience.
“Luckily, I think after you’ve been six times (in close-out games), had a lot of different close-out chances, you just understand what the nerve is like,” he told media ahead of Game 6.
“You have to remind yourself of that as many times as you can before the game starts. At the end of the day, when you’re out there, you just have to be in the moment. You need to be present as often as possible and not worry about the consequences of winning or losing. The only option you have is these 48 minutes.
“The more you can get your mind to be in the moment and stay there, that’s the best advice I can give anyone in this situation because it’s probably going to be the toughest game you’ll ever be in due to the high stakes have played in your career. ”
For Thompson, it would complete a remarkable comeback from two consecutive devastating injuries and force him to miss two consecutive seasons.
During the Warriors’ dominant run over the past decade, Thompson has earned the nickname “Game 6 Klay” for his explosive play in Game 6 of the playoff series, and he hopes to capitalize on that coming Thursday night.
“It’s obviously a nickname that I’ve earned and I want to live up to it,” Thompson told reporters.
“At the same time, I don’t want to go in there and play heroic ball. I’m just going to be there and be myself, doing what I’ve been doing for the past few games. I know we will be successful with that.”
“We’re not scared”
While the pressure of a final game in a playoff series is extreme for the Celtics, the team has shown remarkable resilience in high-pressure scenarios.
Up until their loss in Game 5 in the Finals, they were undefeated after losing in the postseason games. They have won two win-or-go home games against the Milwaukee Bucks and a Game 7 against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
And that run was built on solidity and a determination to stay the course and move forward. Jaylen Brown says they’re “not afraid” despite the pressure.
“We’re not afraid of the Golden State Warriors,” Brown told reporters. “We want to come out and play the best version of basketball we can.
“We know there is a good team over there. We know they’ve done it before. But we have all the faith in ourselves. We’re going to come out and leave it all out there. That is the whole intention.”
When Game 6 gets underway Thursday night at the TD Garden in Boston, the Celtics will be hoping to feed off their rowdy home crowd to force a Game 7.
“It’s the first before four. It’s not over yet. So as long as it’s not over, you have a chance,” said Celtics breakout star Jayson Tatum.
“I think having done it before should give you even more confidence that you can do it. Not that it’s going to be easy or given to us, but you should be very confident as long as you have a chance. We have a chance tomorrow.”
The CNN Wire
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