In a first-round playoff preview rematch of 2013, the Golden State Warriors about confirmed what many are predicting in the first couple rounds before the NBA Finals: a predictably boring cakewalk. The 129-117 final score indicated a close game but the script followed what the majority of Warriors matchup have become: inferior teams scoring a lot and hanging just close enough to make it seem close without the result ever in doubt.
There were no improvements nor were there any type of decline that we could foresee. Draymond Green clinched the green with a putback that pushed him into his second triple-double. Kevin Durant dropped 21 points and Klay Thompson 25 in what is becoming the most consistent performers on offense the Warriors can rely on game in and game out. Zaza Pachulia somehow scored 11 points with 9 boards but provided his usual great screens and Andreson Varejao-level flops. The bench, led by dads level characters the ilk of David West, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston were solid and inoffensive. Ian Clark continued his breakthrough offensive season. Stephen Curry is starting to slowly crawl out of his slump with some breathtaking longballs and flashy plays.
They aren’t playing defense when it isn’t necessary earlier in game. The smallball lineup is locking in rather easily when crunchtime comes along while on the flip side, the offense still isn’t where it needs to be.
The 2016-17 Golden State Warriors aren’t nearly as Harlem Globetrotters-y as last year. They aren’t as locked in or scary as the one two years ago. They simply are great and are stonefaced at their own awesomeness. Gone are the awe in the face of their own excellence. They are predictable in their offense and it doesn’t matter a single bit. Perhaps it’s not the greatest system to maximize per-minute efficiency but it’s a set to counter all defensive schemes on talent only.
There’s a going through the motions vibe through the team, and the arena itself that’s sapped most of the cheers throughout the game. Curry had to egg them on in the middle of the game during a quick run. After last season’s sprint through the history books, can you blame them?
So now Steve Kerr’s team trudges along through the dog days, perhaps starting even as early as December. They have tough matchups coming up, to be sure, like the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Houston Rockets. And yet ultimately, those games don’t matter either and this team is now more self-aware than ever before.
We’ve all got nearly four months until the postseason starts in mid-April. And while there are flaws to fix, and strengths to maintain, the Golden State Warriors are playing like they’re ready to get this thing going right now.