LOS ANGELES – More than being hungry as LeBron James noted, the Golden State Warriors are out to build a legacy as one of the great NBA champion.
Superstar player Steph Curry explained the urgency in the way the Warriors had been playing to start the season is their way of establishing their identity as one of the best teams ever in league history.
The Warriors have won their first 13 games of the new season in a sizzling start never before seen for a defending NBA champion since the 1996-97 Chicago Bulls. The 1957-58 Boston Celtics hold the best start by a reigning champion with a 14-0 record.
“Because we want to be great,” said Curry in an interview with USA TODAY. “I don’t think great teams take nights off. I don’t think great teams really coast through parts of the schedule just because you feel like you have the talent to do it. That cheats the process, and I think we have guys who understand (that).”
James, arguably the best player in the world today, marveled at how the Warriors managed to maintain playing at the same level – or perhaps higher – even after winning their first title in 40 years last season by beating his Cavaliers in the Finals.
Frustrated by Cleveland’s back-to-back losses, including one against Detroit in which the Cavs blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead, James made a comparison between the team and the Warriors.
“The team that beat us (in the Finals last June) looks more hungry than we are,” said James following the setback.
Curry said he did hear and read about James’ post-game rant.
“I mean he’s motivating his team however he needs to. But he’s not in our locker room, so he doesn’t know kind of what’s going on. You can look at our record and make that (assumption about the Warriors being hungry). It’s probably pretty self-explanatory that we’re hungry,” said last year’s MVP.
Curry stressed winning another championship this time would be different from last season.
Unlike a year ago, he said the Warriors are a more confident team and better as individual players who are toughened by their experience of playing together last season.
“For us, we have to continue to lay down the foundation – even though we just came off a championship run – to lay down the foundation of another run, because this year is going to be totally different. “That’s what we all want, is to celebrate again in June.
“This time last year, we were still learning the system, but we were playing hard, playing with that effort every single night. This year, we’re just a little better individually, better as a team, and I think that’s showing. Everybody is pretty focused,” Curry added.