Seventy-three wins, best regular season team ever, two predictable playoff series wins later, the Golden State Warriors are now faced with the task of needing to win three out of the next four games to be able to continue their season.
For the first time in the last year or so, the Dubs appear not just mortal but vulnerable. They are forced to resort to actual below-the-belt hits and “gamesmanship” to stay with the bigger, brawnier OKC Thunder. The over reliance on the long and small ball has always been their achilles heel and it is now exposed for all the OKC big men to salivate and try to take a fatal bite out of. For those who have been keeping a close eye on the “ambiance” around the Warriors, you may have noticed that they never shied away from flaunting their success, at times overstepping the arrogance line in the sand.
“We’re light-years ahead of probably every other team in structure, in planning, in how we’re going to go about things.” (Owner Joe Lacob, April 2016). Odds are that the Warriors are indeed more advanced than your average NBA franchise in terms of structure and planning, but “light years”? That’s the kind of Bay Area VC hubris that ends up biting you in the ass when your star player can’t hit his (other worldly) 50 percent from beyond the arc anymore. Also, how exactly do we measure superiority in terms of “how we go about things” compared to “probably every other team”? Yes, there are franchises who clearly lag in the “running things” department, but it’s safe to assume most NBA franchises have a structure in place, make informed decisions, work hard, and maybe, just maybe are a transcending on-the-floor talent (Curry) away from being in the same ballpark as the Warriors.
That kind of arrogant talk serves as a magnet for haters and just may result in a serving of bad karma along the way. Sunday night’s bashing in OKC has cast a serious doubt over the Warriors chances to repeat. Thus, Game 4 has pretty much become a must win, as an eventual 3-1 hole appears insurmountable. We have witnessed the two mega-star players on the Thunder firing on all cylinders and seen their big men dominate the paint and the glass. Barring any serious damage to the Adams Family jewels, there is no reason to believe the Thunder bigs won’t continue to dominate.
Tomorrow night will be the moment of truth. The Warriors need to summon their usual hot shooting and incredible ball movement to get the win. Otherwise, that “light years ahead” comment will be the crow best served cold on Joe Lacob’s fancy China.