All season long, the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors have had trouble winning games on the road, and after losing a heart-wrenching Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals on Monday to the Los Angeles Lakers by three points, their season is on the line.
They trail the series 3-1, but Richard Jefferson, a key role player on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2016 championship team, wants everyone to know that Golden State isn’t done yet.
Lakers have 2 games to win 1. WARRIORS IN 7 would be scary. Multiple players on that Warriors team have come back from 3-1 before. They aren’t done
— Richard Jefferson (@Rjeff24) May 9, 2023
In Jefferson’s mind, if the Warriors end up winning Game 5 at home and Game 6 back in Southern California, they would likely win Game 7, and it’s hard to argue with that sentiment, although Game 7 could easily go either way.
Golden State has been in this situation before. It trailed Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder 3-1 in the 2016 Western Conference Finals, and despite the Warriors winning a record 73 games in the 2015-16 regular season, many thought they were done.
But the Warriors took Game 5 of that series at home. They then stole Game 6 in Oklahoma City, overcoming a late deficit thanks to arguably the best performance of Klay Thompson’s career. At that point, a Game 7 victory by Thompson’s crew seemed almost inevitable, and it came to pass, putting Golden State in the NBA Finals for the second straight year versus Jefferson’s squad.
Jefferson knows something about overcoming a 3-1 series deficit, as his team did it against those Warriors to win it all. LeBron James continued to believe the Cavs could get it done even after falling behind 3-1, and he got everyone to lock in and never give up.
This year’s Warriors have been inconsistent, as they have been great at home but poor on the road. Since they were unable to regain home-court advantage in the last two contests after surrendering it in Game 1, they face a steep uphill climb.
In addition, they have a different crew to go to war with than they did in 2016. Their bench has been disappointing thus far in this series, and they do not have a center with size such as Andrew Bogut like they did back then.