MAGBABALIK ang defending champion Golden State sa isang lubhang pamilyar na NBA Finals venue ngayong araw sa Cleveland kipkip ang pag-asang makalapit sa kampeonato.
Naitarak ng Warriors ang 2-0 kalamangan matapos ang back-to-back opening wins sa home upang lumakas ang kanilang kampanya para sa ikatlong korona sa apat na taon sa kanilang ikaapat na sunod na finals meeting sa Cavaliers.
“In the finals, this is the only building I know what that experience, that atmosphere, is like,” wika ni Warriors guard Stephen Curry. “We know how Cleveland plays here, with a lot of energy and force. We understand how hard it is to win in this building.”
Nagpaulan si Curry ng NBA record na siyam na 3-pointers sa Game 2 subalit tutungo sa Cleveland na batid na hindi pa tapos ang laban.
“No matter what has gone on in the series, when you change venues, you’ve got to reassert your dominance and try to find that right momentum to start,” ani Curry.
“I want to be a part of leading that charge and playing an amazing game and really taking control of the series.”
Ang mga koponan na abante sa 2-0 ay nanalo sa finals (88 percent of the time) subalit wala pang koponan na may 3-0 bentahe ang natalo, isang bagay na gigil ang Warriors na makuha at ikinababahala naman ng Cavaliers.
“They won two games on their home floor. Now we’ve got to come back and do the same thing,” pahayag ni Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue.
“We’re very confident we can do that. The guys are engaged and locked in. Winning tomorrow is a step forward, but then go out and win Game 4 also. We know we can. We believe.”
Ang pagresbak ay naging tatak na ni LeBron James, ang Cleveland superstar na tumulong sa Cavs na maitala ang 8-1 sa home sa playoffs na ito at ang 5-1 matapos ang mga pagkatalo hanggang finals.
“We’ve been very persistent and very resilient throughout this whole season,” ani James. “We have an opportunity to protect home, as Golden State has done. We look forward to the challenge. It’s a very tall task. But we have an opportunity.
“We’re down 2-0 and I don’t like the way I feel. When you’re down like this versus a team like this, there’s no good feeling.”
Natutuwa si Warriors coach Steve Kerr na nasa pamilyar na sitwasyon ang kanyang koponan sa road challenge.
“We’ve been here before and that’s the biggest thing,” sabi ni Kerr. “We’re used to the dynamic of being ahead in a series and then having everything shift when you go on the road — especially when you play Cleveland.
“LeBron, this crowd and their environment, we know the kind of force they’re going to bring. And we have to be prepared for that.”