It may not have been the dazzling Steph Curry performance people have become accustomed to, but his 31-point haul was enough to lead Golden State Warriors to a 120-111 victory against Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday and keep their NBA Championship hopes alive.
Despite question marks over his fitness, Curry dug deep to inspire the Warriors to the win which pulled them back to 3-2 down in the seven-game Western Conference final series.
“We just did what we’re supposed to do – we’re supposed to win at home,” Curry said. “We know what we still have to do going forward.
“We knew if we didn’t win we were going home. There’s no other motivation you need.”
He made just three out of eight three-point attempts, but hit all 10 of the free throws he took to keep Warriors’ hopes alive.
Head Coach Steve Kerr said: “I thought he looked like 91 percent. He came out and played a really good game. That’s all I can tell you.
“He’s going to compete every night. He had an excellent night and helped us get it done.”
Warriors’ record-breaking 73-9 regular season has been a distant memory at times during this series.
Thunder have been dominant at home so far, winning both games in Oklahoma City by a combined 52 points, but Kerr was impressed with how his team fought back.
“I liked our will, I liked our fight,” Kerr added. “We were embarrassed in OKC the last couple games.”
History is against the Warriors as the look to clinch back-to-back NBA titles.
Only nine teams have previously recovered from 3-1 deficit in the playoffs, while their record of just two wins in their last 16 visits to Oklahoma City shows the size of the task they face in Game 6 on Saturday.
Klay Thompson, who backed up Curry with 27 points last night, believes they are capable of completing the comeback.
“None of us want to go home,” Thompson said. “We’re having too much fun out there.”
Curry’s celebrations after extending Warriors’ lead to 10 with just over a minute remaining showed just how much they want a second successive championship.
“We ain’t going home, we ain’t going home,” he yelled.
With Curry leading the charge there’s still plenty of life left in this series.
In the Eastern Conference, Cleveland Cavaliers lead the Raptors 3-2 heading into Friday’s Game 6 in Toronto.
The Cavaliers are 0-4 this season in Toronto and lost Games 3 and 4 on the road in this series.
After going 32-9 at home during the regular season, the Raptors are 8-2 in the playoffs, and recorded Game 7 wins against Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat in the previous rounds.
“We’ve got to play the same way we played the two home games we’ve had so far,” Raptors’ guard Kyle Lowry said. “That’s all we can do. Can’t worry about the road. We might not get a chance to go back on the road if we don’t play the right way.”
The Cavaliers have had the edge over the Raptors during the last decade, winning 27 of their previous 44 meetings.