Steph taking ‘lock in' mantra to heart during playoffs


DALLAS -- Steph Curry has only tweeted his famed "lock in!" tweet five times this season, and not once since March 3. That just so happened to be the Warriors' final regular-season game against the Dallas Mavericks, a nine-point loss. 

Though he hasn't churned numerous tweets with those two words throughout the season, they still remain near and dear to his heart. That's especially true with the Warriors up three games to none on the Mavs in the Western Conference finals, just one win away from the NBA Finals. 

Curry even had to remind himself of his own mantra Sunday night at American Airlines Center during the Warriors' eventual 109-100 win in Game 3 of the West finals.

"Human nature is tough to deal with when you're balancing the emotions of everything that's at your disposal, in terms of making five straight Finals and dealing with injuries, and we're trying to get to that stage and the roller coaster this year," Curry said Monday to reporters. "The fact that you are so close to getting back to the opportunity to compete for a championship.

"Your body, your mind can tend to wander a bit, but I think we leverage our experience enough to know that we can't do that. For us, just stay locked in with what's happening right now. I even told myself that during the game under my breath, just to stay in the moment." 

The goal, of course, is another championship and hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy. That takes a to-do list first though, a handful of boxes that need to be checked.

In a wild up-and-down regular season, the Warriors checked one of their most important boxes by earning home-court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs as a top-four seed. They then took down the Denver Nuggets during the opening round in five games before staving off the Memphis Grizzlies over six games in the Western Conference semifinals. Now, they're a game away from completing a sweep in the conference finals

Over his 13-year career, Curry has been the perfect example of joy and laser focus. Those are the two attributes the Warriors always are trying to balance, and it all starts with their two-time NBA MVP. 

Whether it's shimmying his way down the sidelines or turning his back to a mid-flight 3-pointer that's guaranteed to make the nets drip, he continues to make sure the scale doesn't tip too far one way or the other. 

This is what it's all about. Lock in on the moment before allowing yourself to look ahead. 

"One, it's fun to compete," Curry said. "You have to remember how fun this stage is -- these battles, this atmosphere. But we haven't done anything yet."

Not yet, but Curry sure has put on a show so far. 

Curry scored 31 points and dished 11 assists in the Warriors' Game 3 win in Dallas. In three games against the Mavs, with the Warriors knocking on the door for another trip to the finals, Curry is averaging 28.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists while shooting 49.1 percent from the field and 48.3 percent on 3-point attempts.

Hours from now, he could be well on his way to winning the first Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP.

First, he'll keep those two words at the forefront of his focus as it trickles down to his teammates. 

"It's for everybody, because we all have a role to play," Curry said. "We all expect to impact the game if you're out there, no matter how many minutes you're playing. You see it with a guy like [Andrew Wiggins], who has to do a very specific thing. He has to guard Luka, make it very tough on him, be relentless with that effort, be aggressive on offense, take shots when you're open and drive when you have the advantage. He's been rebounding the ball like crazy.

"He has understood how he can impact winning and has bought into it. Everybody has to take that mentality."

RELATED: In appreciation of Steph having Warriors one win from Finals

The Warriors have completed six series sweeps during Curry's tenure with the team. They fell short in close-out games against the Nuggets and the Grizzlies earlier this postseason. To make it lucky No. 7 and dust off the brooms, it will take a collective effort on the road from top to bottom. 

No two-word tweet needs to be sent, no words need to be said. If the Warriors follow their leader like they have so many times in the past, the results will stay the same: A date with the Finals, and four more wins for Curry's fourth ring.

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