OAKLAND, (Reuters) – With the sting of last year’s NBA Finals collapse still fresh in his mind, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry said he and his team would not be celebrating until they delivered a championship back to Oakland.
The squad took a solid first step toward doing so on Thursday, beating the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers 113-91 in Game One of the Finals.
Last year, the Warriors earned the dubious distinction of being the first team to lose the best-of-seven series after leading 3-1.
“Win one game. Now we look to Sunday to try to do it again,” Curry told reporters.
“You’re not going to see crazy celebrations, you’re not going to see us getting ahead of ourselves.
The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in the 2015 Finals and were poised to make it two in a row in last year’s June showdown but James and his team stormed back to victory.
In response, the Warriors signed eight-time All Star Kevin Durant, a move that paid dividends on Thursday as the seven-foot forward put up 38 points on 14 for 26 shooting.
Curry’s backcourt partner Klay Thompson was also wary of complacency.
“This feels a lot like last year. We went up 2-0, but it’s history. We’ve got to enjoy this tonight but quickly forget about it and win Sunday and play as hard as we can,” he told reporters.
As bad as last season’s finish hurt, it was an experience the team used as fuel during the regular season, where they had the NBA’s best record, Thompson added.
“There are no shortcuts to win a championship. Everybody knows that. We’ll find it. We’ve still got a long way to go to win this series.”
Warriors forward Draymond Green said the experience of a third consecutive Finals made his team more accustomed to the sport’s biggest stage.
“Obviously what we went through the last two years, you learn from that and you grow,” he told reporters.
“And adding some of the pieces we have added definitely helps.”