SAN FRANCISCO — When Ray Allen backpedalled and drilled a three to force Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals to overtime, that was essentially the nail in the coffin for the San Antonio Spurs. Dismayed and emotionally distraught from giving up a lead on the road, the Spurs hung around in Game 7 but the Heat fed off the momentum of Allen’s three in the previous game and took care of business to become the 2013 champions.
The Spurs were haunted by that NBA Finals loss and after giving up a 3-1 series lead and losing in Game 7 at home in the Finals last season, it’s a feeling similarly shared by the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors — like the Spurs — had a number of opportunities to take the lead in Game 7 but in the final two minutes, they simply froze up and the Cavs took advantage. Golden State’s entire season came down to those final two minutes and that time period is the one part of the game Stephen Curry wishes he could do over.
Speaking at a private fundraiser on Tuesday for “Nothing But Nets,” a grassroots campaign that aims to fight malaria in Africa (Curry donates three life-saving bed nets to the organization for each three-pointer he makes during the regular season), the Warriors superstar reminisced a bit about the last two minutes of Game 7.
“You go into a Finals situation, the last two minutes, that’s what you live for.” Curry said. “And you can obviously, after the game, second-guess decisions you made, shots you took, think about what I could have done differently. But just watching it, just kind of lost control of the momentum. I threw a crazy pass that went out-of-bounds. Obviously, Kyrie made a great shot but we still had a chance to win and just got a little rushed. When that situation comes back around, I like our chances.”
Curry’s unwavering confidence is not too surprising considering the Warriors signed Kevin Durant in the offseason. Besides, history remains on Golden State’s side.
San Antonio came back with a vengeance in 2014, facing the Heat in the NBA Finals again and then utterly dismantling Miami in a rather lopsided five-game series to win their fifth championship in franchise history. It was almost shocking that San Antonio was able to bounce back after such a devastating Finals loss, yet it happened.
Could the same thing possibly happen for the Warriors? Curry believes so, telling the crowd that the pain of losing in Game 7 will only make Golden State stronger moving forward.
“It still hasn’t,” Curry said when asked when the Game 7 loss stopped hurting. “I don’t think it ever will. Maybe like when we win the next one. Hopefully when that happens, you forget about the motivation that it took to get there – the feeling of June 19, 2016.
“So you understand, it’s going to make us better. We would’ve loved to celebrate a second one but different journey.”
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Haunted by final minutes of Game 7, Curry believes Finals loss will motivate Warriors