Warriors Hungrier After Epic Collapse to Cavs: ‘We Want to Redeem Ourselves'

OAKLAND -- As the Warriors prepared Friday to embark on a third consecutive postseason as favorites, it's apparent the epic collapse of last June still sits in their collective gut.

It's not all-consuming misery or regret, keeping them awake at night. It's more like moderate heartburn, an inconvenient discomfort they long to shed.

"We want to redeem ourselves," Klay Thompson said after practice.

It's well known that in chasing a second consecutive championship last June, the Warriors blew a 3-1 series lead over Cleveland in The Finals. Insofar as they are the only team to do so, they entered the record book for reasons that will sting forever.

That can't be erased by anything the Warriors do this postseason, which begins Sunday with Game 1 of a first-round series against Portland. Yet they are driven by lingering memories of being dethroned by the Cavaliers.

The championship banner that hangs in Oracle Arena is almost two years old. The Larry O'Brien trophy, emblematic of the NBA championship, is an object never far from their thoughts. After winning it in 2015, the Warriors were one win from repeating when it all went away.

"Obviously, last year sucked," Thompson said. "But it's a new year and we've got to forget about last year, whether we won or lost. It's a new slate. We're chasing that trophy and we want it back oh so badly.

The Warriors are in a very different spot than they were in 2015, when they were fresh and new to the NBA elite, in some ways ahead of schedule. It's different from last season, too, when they rang up 73 wins to set an NBA record.

Even though the Cavaliers were wearing the crown, the addition of superstar forward Kevin Durant last summer made the Warriors instant favorites.

The team has changed. The goal has not.

"You're still out to get the same thing, whether you're chasing it or protecting it," Draymond Green said. "It changes the hunger, though. You're a little bit hungrier trying to go get something back than you are when you've got it. It changes that, more so than anything else. It makes you want it a little bit more.

"You take stuff for granted when you've got it. That's just the world we live in. When you're chasing after it, and don't have it, you're a little bit hungrier to go get it."

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