Toronto: Confident despite losing their NBA Finals opener, the defending champion Golden State Warriors say they must hustle faster defensively and reduce mistakes to defeat the Toronto Raptors.
Seeking their third consecutive title and fourth crown in five years, the Warriors had won 12 consecutive play-off series openers before falling 118-109 Thursday, gaining hard-earned wisdom for Sunday’s game two.
“We’re down 0-1 but it’s not the end of the world,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “We’ve proven our resiliency and ability to win games we need to, answer the bell and learn.
“They obviously played well but our confidence remains the same. It’s just come out, play hard, get game two and take it from there.
“I like the vibe that we have in the locker room in terms of everybody focusing on what they need to do differently and the overall energy bump we need to have to go steal game two.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr has stressed fast-moving defensive work because he sees familiar challenges in how the Raptors play.
“Transition defence is where it starts. We were just careless getting back,” Kerr said. “When you’ve got a team that can push the ball from a lot of different positions and plays fast, you’ve got to be vigilant every possession.
“If anything, they remind me of us.”
Warriors forward Draymond Green, who took the blame for Pascal Siakam’s 32-point performance for Toronto in the opener, vows a more aggressive style Sunday.
“We can do a lot better in executing and there are some adjustments we can make,” Green said. “I have to be more aggressive. Aggressiveness starts with me and everybody else will follow. If I’m on my heels, everyone else is on their heels.
“All five guys got to do a better job of just being physical, being alert, and we’ll be all right.
“We’re champions. We understand what it takes. People hold us to a higher standard, but we hold ourselves to an even higher standard.”