LOS ANGELES — Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr wouldn’t call Monday’s Game 4 against the Los Angeles Lakers a must-win. He said as long as they weren’t on the brink of elimination, nothing was absolute.
But Golden State forward Kevon Looney acknowledged just how big a hole it is to climb back from a 3-1 series deficit. He — and the Warriors — know from personal experience.
Yet, the Warriors fell to the Lakers 104-101 in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals, putting them right where Kerr was talking about — on the brink of elimination.
“It feels like what it is,” Kerr said. “You go home and you take care of business. You get a win. And the momentum is right back in your favor. That’s all it is. Someone has to win four times. That’s why you play it out.”
Golden State is 1-14 all time in series after trailing 3-1. Their lone comeback was in the 2016 Western Conference finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder. They squandered their own 3-1 advantage in the next round against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
“We made history before. The goal is to win one at home. We know we are capable of taking care of home court. It’s about staying present and not looking ahead,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said.
“It’s fun to reflect on the past and learn from it and take that same competitive energy that brought us back in the past to today.”
But the team Thompson was reflecting on was a different team than it is now. That squad was a superteam that won 73 regular-season games.
This season, the Warriors have fought disconnection — both on and off the court — all campaign and don’t have the regular-season success to fall back on.
The Warriors said most of their confidence that they can keep their season alive stems from Game 4 being within their reach. The Warriors were up by 12 points midway through the third quarter. They defended well and cut down on fouling. They didn’t play in transition much but said that they took good control of the ball.