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Curry, Warriors not the least bit worried about losing their edge on seven-day break

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			Curry, Warriors not the least bit worried about losing their edge on seven-day break

OAKLAND — By the time the Warriors finally take the court in the playoffs again Tuesday night, it will be more than a week since they staged the most scintillating quarter of basketball of their season, and arguably one of the best in franchise history.

 The NBA world is still buzzing about that 14-0 start, that 35-9 breakout, that pulsating 45-point first period in the Game 4 sweep-out of the Portland Trail Blazers in the opening round. Reflecting on it Saturday, Stephen Curry was still sounding amazed by the synergy of those 12 minutes.

“It all started with our defense,” Curry said. “There’s a certain vibe you can create when you get stops and everybody’s locked in like that.”

Players and coaches say all the time that you don’t want to stop playing when you’re on that kind of perfect-storm performance level. Alas, the Warriors have had to cool their jets for five days now, and they’ll have two more days of down time before facing the Utah Jazz or Los Angeles Clippers at Oracle Arena Tuesday night.

Can they carry over that magnificent mojo? Will there be rust? Worse yet, might the team which wins that Game 7 Sunday have its sharp competitive edge from the outset, while the Warriors struggle to find theirs?

It’s the great unknown of an extended seven-day break like this, but the Warriors don’t sound worried about the game-action inactivity, and they sound sincere when they say it.

“It’s out of our control,” said interim head coach Mike Brown. “If we were a younger team, I would have a little bit more concern about this, but this is a veteran group. Our nucleus has played deep into the playoffs and they’ve swept teams before, so they’ve been put in this situation. Even when you talk about guys like David West and Kevin Durant, they’ve been with teams that have been put in situations like this.”

Brown, who has been through a few extended breaks himself in prior coaching stops, said the Warriors have been staging scrimmages during some of their practices as well as high-intensity conditioning drills to keep players mentally and physically in shape.

“One of our messages to our guys — and they’re very good at this anyway — is when they get what they need, they know how to incorporate stuff and keep themselves going and locked in,” Brown said.

Two seasons ago when the Warriors won the NBA title, they faced their biggest scare of their entire postseason run after sweeping the New Orleans Pelicans in the opening round. Following a similar seven-day break, they fell behind the Memphis Grizzlies 2-1 in the Western Conference semifinals and had to win Game 4 in Memphis to stay out of a deep hole. They did that, however, and wound up winning three straight. They also won the opener of that Memphis series following the week-long layoff, which seemed to dent the idea their deficit was the result of rust.

Last year, however, they had a four-day break after beating Houston in five games heading into the Western Conference finals against Oklahoma City. The Warriors struggled early in that series against the Thunder, fell behind 3-1, and it took a monumental Klay Thompson performance in Game 6 to pull out that series.

With that evidence in mind, it’s open to question how healthy this latest layoff will be. Then again, the Cleveland Cavaliers had two eight-day breaks last season — back-to-back, in fact — and wound up winning the championship, so go figure.

For Curry’s part, he believes every added day of the break is a good thing for the Warriors following the long, arduous regular season.

“It’s definitely a thing for the guys who were a little banged up,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to get rest and come in with fresh legs to the series on Tuesday and the only challenging part is keeping the edge and focus about our practices and understanding the things we’re trying to accomplish every day we’ve come here since Game 4 — keeping our rhythm, staying in shape, remaining sharp skill-wise.”

Curry did admit that having gone through long breaks between series before helps.

“It becomes easier because of experience, yeah,” he said. “Like anything in life, you learn what went right, what went wrong, the next time you know how to do it better. So to have been through this, you just try to pace yourself but at the same keep an edge mentally and physically.”

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