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Steve Kerr Says Warriors Are 'Definitely Threatened' Entering Game 1 vs. Rockets

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 14, 2018

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr looks on in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Tuesday, April 10, 2018, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Alex Goodlett)
Alex Goodlett/Associated Press

The Golden State Warriors are accustomed to having home-court advantage in a series, but that won't be the case in the Western Conference Finals against the Houston Rockets that kicks off Monday night in Houston.

Kerr said of opening a series away from home, per Chris Haynes of ESPN.com:

"It's different. I think our guys, they are taking the challenge, and they're embracing it. They feel like, 'OK, we don't have home court for the first time,' but we seem to be at our best when we are threatened. That's been kind of the M.O. of this team. We're definitely threatened. We're on the road for Game 1, we've never felt that."

Warriors reserve Shaun Livingston said he likes the challenge that a Game 1 on the road provides, however.

"It's not the norm, but I like it," he noted. "I've done it before at other places, and I like it because it sets that tone. You've got to be ready. Appropriate fear. Coming in, being on the road. You got the opposing fans coming at you. It's fun."

Golden State veteran Andre Iguodala said the Warriors aren't going into Houston hoping for a split and will be gunning to head back home up 2-0 in the series, though he added that the team can't afford to get comfortable once they're in front of their own fans.

"I don't have comfort being at home," he said. "You've got to be careful with that. There's always like a show wherever we go. It follows us on the road. Sometimes that gets the best of us. But it's the playoffs. We'll be ready. We have to be."

The Warriors hardly are slouches on the road. Since the 2014-15 postseason, they hold a 20-12 mark in games away from home. This season, they had identical 29-12 records at home and on the road. This postseason, they are 6-0 at home and 2-2 in away buildings.

Houston, meanwhile, tied with the Toronto Raptors for the best home record (34-7) in the NBA this season. It's been 5-1 at home and 3-1 on the road in these playoffs.

More than likely, defensive matchups, tactical adjustments and individual moments of brilliance will play a bigger factor in this contest between the NBA's two best teams than any home-court advantage. The Warriors and Rockets are veteran teams who can navigate the ebbs and flows of a playoff series and a rowdy opposing crowd. 

But the tighter this series gets, the more every little advantage matters. If it goes the full seven games, the Rockets will certainly be happy to be playing it at home, and the Warriors seem attuned to the fact they are opening the Western Conference Finals needing to overcome that disadvantage.   

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