Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors are nothing if not confident.
So, when reporters relayed to Kerr the theory that the Houston Rockets have an edge over his Warriors in the Western Conference finals because they’re the “hungrier” team, you knew the Golden State coach was going to disagree.
“No, I like where we are,” Kerr said Thursday, via ESPN.com. “Our guys have rings. That’s a good position to be in.”
This may read like a shot at the Rockets, but Kerr actually believes the Warriors’ championship experience benefits them greatly as they aim for a third NBA title in four years.
“To me, the hardest championship is the first one, as an individual player and as a team, because you don’t know — you don’t quite know — if you can do it,” Kerr added. “Once you get the first one, there’s a little bit of house money. But you want it again, because it’s an unbelievable feeling.
“I like our position. We’re going to go in here knowing we’re the defending champs, knowing we got a couple of championships here the last few years. Let’s go get another one. It’s a nice feeling to have and to go into a series with.”
Basically, these Warriors know what it takes to win and are equipped to survive any obstacles they face. Of course, there’s some credence to the Rockets’ theory: James Harden and Chris Paul are desperately seeking a first NBA title, and the memory of previous postseason failures will give them plenty of motivation to dethrone Golden State.
Then again, the Warriors know the sting of defeat, too, having blown a 3-1 lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals.
Both teams have ample time to contemplate their playoff fortunes, as Game 1 at Oracle Arena isn’t until Monday.