Steph Curry Reveals Warriors’ Mindset in Final Part of 2022-23 NBA Season

Steph explains how Dubs should approach the latter part of the season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

With the calendar turning to March and 20 games left, the Warriors’ playoffs are upon us. Not officially, of course, but a playoff mentality has found its way into the defending champions.

It should, says Stephen Curry.

“We have a good understanding of what our potential is,” Curry told NBC Sports Bay Area on Wednesday. “But the principles and the focus of what that means on a nightly basis. . . it should feel like the play-offs every night because otherwise we are not going to win many games.”

If Tuesday night is any indication, Curry will return in a few days to join the team where fellow veterans Draymond Green and Klay Thompson feel the magnitude not only of every game but every possession – and to a coaching staff already in postseason- mode is.

Coach Steve Kerr and his staff formulated a playoff-type defensive game plan centered on Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard that the Warriors used in their comeback win.

“I told the players in our walkthrough that this is a great game for us because that’s pretty much what the playoffs are about,” Kerr said after the 123-105 win. “You have to sort out your opponent and maybe throw something else at them. And then have the balance to stick with it.

Curry watched from the court and came away hoping the Warriors, who have won three in a row, take a playoff approach.

“It’s what you want to put behind it that drives us to raise our level of focus and execution,” he said. “Our ability to understand how to win games in many different ways. That comes down to our defense. We need to be able to find some consistency in that.”

Golden State’s defense on Tuesday was a story of two halves, one that allowed 65 points on 50 percent shooting before halftime and just 40 points on 35.7 percent shooting afterward.

The deeper the game went, the more the Warriors leaned on the game plan. The result was – you’ve heard it before – a great defense leading to an easier offense.

“I know this coaching staff,” said Draymond Green on Tuesday after the win. “I know that when they put together specific game plans, it works. I’ve seen it work year after year, playoff run after playoff run. When they close in and set up a specific game plan – we want to guard guys like this, we want to let this guy score and not let (score). If they do, it works.”

The Warriors woke up Wednesday morning in fifth place in the Western Conference, percentage points ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers, who invaded Chase Center on Thursday.

However, the West is as tight as anyone can remember. As of Thursday morning, only five games in the losing streak separate the fourth-place Phoenix Suns and the thirteenth-place Oklahoma City Thunder.

“This is probably the best year ever [believing you can] pick a team in the top 10 and you can convince yourself why they can win the West – realistically,” said Curry. “That’s great for the league, great from the fans’ perspective and it’s great that there’s a lot of equality between four and 13 in the standings.”

The Warriors are 11.5 games behind the conference-leading Denver Nuggets, but they are long past the days of chasing the overall No. 1 seed. However, they do have a purpose. If they play their best basketball and put in a strong finish, maybe they can make it.

“Every night, every win and every loss will mean something,” said Curry. “It helps us to know that we struggled a bit at the beginning of the year to find some momentum.

“The last 20 games, a lot of weight will be put into every game, every action, to get greedy and see if we can get home field advantage. At the very least, try to stay out of the play-in situation.

For a team climbing above .500 for more than two more games, it will take some nice hoops to stay in the top six, let alone move into the top four and gain home field advantage in the first round.

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The hope is that good health will be with them. There is a belief among the core of Klay Thompson, Green and Curry that the Warriors still have what it takes to make postseason sound.

There is no timetable for Andrew Wiggins’ return, but there is hope that it will be sooner rather than later. Andre Iguodala is very close to a return, according to sources. And there remains an outside chance that Gary Payton II can fit into the final weeks.

“I’m always confident when we’re at full strength just because we’ve proven we can,” said Curry. “We’ve done it before. Fully knowing that this team is different, but also knowing that we were able to make the necessary adjustments and find the right combinations and rotations to make it work when it matters most.”

It’s March and finding the right combinations and rotations is important. Not as much as April and beyond, won’t be much of that without running this month.

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