Warriors focused on Clippers, ready for Rockets


OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors understand they have to win one more game over the LA Clippers to advance into the Western Conference semifinals, but the group also knows that a showdown with the Houston Rockets awaits if and when they do.

“They’re a great team,” Warriors swingman Klay Thompson said after Tuesday’s practice. “They got two Hall of Fame guards in the backcourt [in James Harden and Chris Paul], and everyone else has carved out a nice role. We’ve had a ton of history with them in the last five years of the playoffs. I know they’re just itching to get another shot at us and that’s when — when two teams meet like that, when the stakes are that high, it makes for the best basketball in the world.”

Thompson’s comments come on the heels of Sunday’s postgame interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters in which he noted that the Warriors were hoping to close out their series against the Clippers as fast as possible — after blowing a 31-point second-half lead in Game 2 — because the group knew the Rockets were on the verge of sweeping the Utah Jazz and getting extra rest. After the Jazz extended the series with a Game 4 win on Monday night, both the Rockets and Warriors have a chance to close out their respective series on Wednesday in separate Game 5s.

“It’s really not hard at all,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said of focusing on the Clippers, not the impending Rockets series. “At the end of the day we know what Houston’s about. We know what Utah’s about, and their styles of play. At this point there isn’t anything really different jumping off the TV, but coming to practice we lock in and focus and get ready for the game [Wednesday], hopefully take care of business. It’s kind of ingrained in our routines and our mindsets as we’ve been through so many different experiences in the playoffs. You know how to pace yourself and stay locked in on the task at hand while still having an awareness of what’s going on throughout the league.”

Curry said he’s been keeping up with all the other playoff games just like he normally would.

“You watch every game,” Curry said. “You understand what’s going on. You may not be as in tune like focused on the details, but I like watching basketball in general so it doesn’t matter really who’s on. Just understanding we got to focus on getting four wins now against the Clippers and go from there but as a fan of basketball I turn on every game.”

The good news for the Warriors is that forward Draymond Green will play in Game 5 after undergoing an MRI on his right wrist. Green was seen leaving Staples Center in a wrist brace after Game 4, but Kerr doesn’t sound concerned the injury will have any impact on the defensive star moving forward.

“He’s fine,” Kerr said. “He had an MRI and it was clear and he practiced fully today, so he’s fine.”

As for injured center DeMarcus Cousins, he was back at the Warriors facility with his teammates on Tuesday as he continues the rehab process for a torn left quad. Cousins suffered the injury during Game 2 of the Clippers series, and Kerr noted it is “highly unlikely” he returns before the season ends.

“We’ll see what happens in a few weeks,” Kerr said. “Once we have a better sense of healing and his ability to maybe get on the court maybe who knows? But at this point, conservatively I would say it’s highly unlikely [he returns].”

Source : ESPN