The Golden State Warriors are up 3-0 going into game 4 on Friday night. If the Warriors win it would be the first time in NBA History that a team has swept the playoffs and the finals. It would also mean the first NBA Championship for the much talked about Kevin Durant. Here is what Durant had to say before the game:
Do you think you’re playing the best, your best game ever, like you’re at the top of your game in this moment?
KEVIN DURANT: I’m not even thinking about that. I’m just trying to just go out there and play hard every second I’m on the floor, play with passion and energy and joy. That’s all I’m concerned about. It’s not about me, it’s about our group. But we do need everybody individually to do their jobs and for all of us to have confidence when we go out there. So I’m just trying to put everything together for my teammates as far as having confidence, playing smart, playing hard and just playing free and with some joy. I think that’s what we always talk about, all of us, we all just want to have some fun but play disciplined. And so that’s a battle I’m trying to go through more so than worrying about how I’m playing, how great I’m playing. I’m just trying to be solid for my teammates
This is what you envisioned when you decided to go to the Warriors?
KD: I didn’t envision anything but just being around good people and getting better every single day. That’s exactly what happened throughout the season. I didn’t talk to these guys when I made my decision and say we better make it to The Finals and be up in the series around this time, this exact date, or I’m not coming. I mean, it was just let’s just have some fun playing ball, let’s just all get better and let’s see what happens.
The Warriors were favoured to win the title this year before you signed. Now that you’re at this level, on this stage, do you feel a need to assert yourself in this series?
KD: I feel like every team I’m on, in order for us to go to the next level, I have to assert myself. Since I was playing for the PG Jaguars when I was 10 years old, I felt like if I didn’t assert myself, we weren’t as good as we should be. So that’s always the approach that I have. Asserting myself might not always be just scoring the basketball. It’s just playing hard, listening to my coaches and teammates, using my length. Just all the types of small stuff that you probably really don’t see is what I try to do and try to get lost in those things and help. Just try to help the team win, no matter what.
To follow up, a lot of your teammates have talked about learning from last year’s Finals, what happened there. How do you relate when they’re discussing that or dealing with that?
KD: I know what losing is like. I’ve been in The Finals before and lost. So I can relate to that situation. I can’t relate to that exact situation, but I know what losing is like and I know how you can lose a game or give a series away or give a momentum swing. I know all about it. But we rarely talked about last year. It was all about us and how we can get better from day one and with the guys we have on this team this year. So we didn’t really talk too much about it.
It had been a long time, obviously, since you’ve been on this stage. Can you just kind of give a sense of what it’s felt like, what it’s been like for you just emotionally, competitively, what it’s been like the last week or so and what it feels like to be on the verge? I know guys don’t like to get ahead of themselves, but to be up, to be that close?
KD: My main concern is just every day going to practice, staying locked in in practice — well, before practice, make sure I get my shots up, make sure I work on the small parts of my game, my touch, my jump shot, one-dribble pull-ups, stuff like that. And then go through practice hard and then work out after practice. That’s the only thing I worry about at this point. The series is not over. So I’m going to do the same thing I did last practice. I’ll do the same thing today.