HOUSTON — Hours before a winner-takes-all Game 7 in the Warriors’ Western Conference Finals series against Houston, Stephen Curry said he’s learned certain strategies to shake the nerves and slow himself down.
“I mean, most of it is just breathing,” Curry said at Warriors’ shootaround Monday. “For real. Just take a couple of deep breaths. I took a tip from some PGA guys who used to tell me when they’re out there on the course and it gets a little logjammed on a couple of holes, they’ve got to slow themselves down in between shots so that they can pace themselves for a five-hour, six-hour round. I took that as a way — even the way you do your pregame warmup routine or how you go through two-line layups. Take it a little slow because your mind might be processing things a lot faster than it usually does, so your body will start to speed up a bit. So you’ve got to dial it back. Set the tone early in the day. It’s just another day. It’s just a normal day. It’s just another basketball game.”
Curry is about to play in his fourth Game 7, his second such game on the road. In the first round in 2014, the Warriors lost to the Clippers on the road. In the Western Conference Finals in 2016, the Warriors beat Oklahoma City at home. And in The Finals in 2016, the Warriors lost to Cleveland at home.
He said he knows what to expect, both physically and mentally. He’s going to have butterflies and his mind will be racing. The trick is making sure he controls the speed of his body.
“You go back and think about how your body was, how your mind was racing 100 miles per hour,” Curry said. “You had to really tell yourself when you got out on the floor, it’s just basketball. It’s the same 94-feet you play every single game. It’s just the situation is a little different. You’ve got to calm yourself down.”
Curry said having experience definitely helps in these types of situations.
“There’s a different heightened awareness about what Game 7 actually means,” Curry said. “The entire atmosphere that you expect here tonight, it’s going to be fun. It’s my fourth one, I think. Every game in the series takes on a different shape — but Game 7s are 10 times that because you throw everything you have out there on the floor. Just one last effort to get a win.”