The Golden State Warriors are whole now as they get ready to finish off another great regular season. The main job is done, that was to make another postseason appearance. It wasn’t about breaking their NBA record 73 wins from last year. The Warriors knew if they remained healthy the playoffs were a sure bet. And how could it not be with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant leading the way?
But then Durant went down and missed more than a month of basketball. However, in that time span, something remarkable happened to the team that many were getting a vibe that their armor was cracking. The Warriors banded together and since Durant’s injury have played the best basketball of any team during that stretch.
How can that be without a player that was mentioned to be in contention with Russell Westbrook and James Harden for MVP?
Easy. The Warriors went to two straight NBA Finals without Durant and while most teams would’ve crumbled under the added weight placed upon their star’s shoulders, the Warriors proved why they’ve been the best in the Western Conference for the past two years. Since Durant went down on February 28th, the Warriors have gone 15-5 and that’s including their current 13-game winning streak.
Have they played better without Durant? Yes. But does that mean they don’t need him? No. It never hurts to get your leading scorer back but what the team has done since his injury is give the rest of the NBA nightmares for when the playoffs begin.
Is there a team in the NBA that can beat them? Pretty sure there is and their 14 losses state that as a fact. However, we’re talking regular wins and losses here. Not the type that defines whether or not you pack up and head home for the rest of the summer. The West is still competitive with teams like the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers, but I can’t see any of them taking a game from the Warriors in the playoffs.
It may be a stretch but look how hot they are right now. And this is without Durant. What was hurting the Warriors early on was the defensive end of the floor. When Durant went down they were forced to hit the waiver wire and picked up a player in Matt Barnes who add a toughness the team has lacked. Barnes is not much of a scorer and now his role is 100 percent clearer now. Play defense.
The Spurs are tough with LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard but Green and Durant will cancel them out with their own production. You can mention the Rockets who are good but tough defense and players that will go straight ahead at Harden who doesn’t play defense will be their downfall. As for the Clippers, it’s the playoffs so a choke is expected of them.
I just don’t see a loss happening. There will be a few close games along the way but there is no team in the NBA right now that are more battle-tested than the Warriors. The Cleveland Cavaliers come to mind but they have struggled down the stretch and there are concerns they may not make it out the Eastern Conference.
We can also take into account this may be the last time we see this team together. Durant, Curry, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston are free agents and the money is just not there for all of them. There is nothing scarier than a team that is playing for everything as they will look to go out on top. It’s like playing a team full of seniors in front of the friends and family. They will give their best knowing it could very well be their last.
It doesn’t matter what you accomplished during the regular season. Sports fans know that a team going into the playoffs hot are usually the ones to be the last standing. The Warriors have played head games with the NBA for the past two seasons and there is no reason to think that it won’t continue this time around.
They are simply too strong to beat.