Letourneau: Warriors Having Fun Again – Finally

The Warriors "subsist on joy," Connor Letourneau said, and that has been absent for much of the season

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
April 19, 2019 - 8:54 am

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After coughing up a 31-point lead against the Clippers in Game 2 of their first-round series – the largest collapse in NBA playoff history – the Golden State Warriors righted the ship Thursday, beating Los Angeles 132-105 in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead.

What changed?

“They stayed engaged and looked like they were having fun out there,” San Francisco Chronicle Warriors reporter Connor Letourneau said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Anyone who’s followed this team knows this is a team that subsists on joy. It felt like for the first time in a little while, they really had that joy. You saw them celebrating after big plays, you saw them laughing, you saw them smiling – and that really continued the entire game, which I thought was the biggest takeaway. They looked like they were having fun tonight – which is something that has been absent much of this season. For them to win another title, they need to have that back.”

In Game 2, the Warriors “disappeared on both sides of the ball and let the Clippers be the enforcers.” In Game 3, the Warriors came out hot. They led 41-24 after the first quarter, 73-52 at halftime and 109-76 after the third, as Kevin Durant scored a game-high 38 points.

Indeed, there was genuine joy from the Warriors from start to finish. Why was that absent during the regular season? 

“There’s just been a lot going on,” Letourneau said. “Whenever you’re chasing a third straight title, you look at the teams through NBA history that tried to do that, there’s been a lot of tension and some locker-room turmoil – and this Warriors team is no different. Everyone knows what’s been going on with the Durant situation, how he’s handled all the coverage of his pending free agency, his spat earlier in the season with Draymond – there’s just been a lot of stuff. I think that they really felt the cumulative toll of trying to maintain a dynasty. There just hasn’t been that joyful environment that you’re used to seeing. I think they’re trying to get that back right when it matters most.”

Click below to listen to Letourneau’s interview in its entirety.