All season long the Golden State Warriors has played condescending basketball. They’re too good, a little too old, and very much too arrogant to try harder than neutral in any regular season basketball game. Come postseason time, one would think that games with larger significance would trigger a much more engaged and killer instinct style of basketball. Sort of. Game 5 against the New Orleans Pelicans was the Mona Lisa of their attitude all year long. They came out a little stagnant, found out they could get a big lead with some decent effort, gave that lead right back before halftime due to sloppiness and boredom, then completely crushed their season by the middle of the third quarter. Closeout Quarter Warriors.
How long can this last? The San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans, and whoever comes out of the East are susceptible to this consistent charade. But the Houston Rockets? We may have a problem. The issue resolves itself, of course, the moment the Warriors feel imminent danger. And that may come but a quarter into the first game next Monday. What happened at Oracle tonight was so much about the Warriors knowing who they are and only allowing the opponents to know who they truly are when they feel like it. It’s the sign of highest disrespect to not just the other team, but to the game of basketball, in the best, most cruel way possible.
Let’s revisit the sequence of events in the game. 23-16 in the first 8 minutes with the Hamptons 5. Then back up 8 with 4:30 left to close out the half, leading by 3 after several sloppy turnovers and missed shots at the half. The moment they stepped on the court in the third quarter, they flipped a 10-0 run on, Alvin Gentry called 3 timeouts in the first 3 and a half minutes en route to a 15-point deficit. By the time Steph and KD were done dancing and shooting, it was a 95-75 lead at the end of the third. Then what happens in the 4th? Right back to normalcy, allowing a 24-point lead to shrink to 7 before finishing it off with a Draymond fadeaway and a Kevon Looney putback. Peak 2018 Warriors.
Just how long can this last? It has to stop, one would imagine. After the game, Steve Kerr pronounced Steph fully back. The Warriors now have a single series to determine the true urgency and how great they can consistently play. The NBA Finals will likely look something like these first two rounds. But we’re down to a single series now, and perhaps even a single Game 1 for Houston. The Warriors know if Houston comes out and chokes away the first game, this series becomes nearly impossible, without home-court, and needing to win 4 of the next 6 games. There’s your urgency. When the Warriors sense urgency, they smell blood, and when they smell blood, it’s time to shark. We may get a statement come Game 1. Just like against San Antonio showing us they have the postseason switch, and again against New Orleans showing what they are without Stephen Curry. This time? They might be the underdog in that singular game, and by the end, we may see the Defending NBA Champions on top yet again.
1. Draymond is ready. His presser was just perfection in how he described just how above they were the idea of thinking they were waiting for them in the WCF. Instead, he condescendingly stated Houston was just another team in the way to their third title. Oh yeah, he averaged the first triple double in Warriors history. In a win.
2. Hamptons 5 is now a +41 per 100 in the postseason, per HPBasketball. They’ve also played zero minutes together, per Adam Lauridsen, GSW Fastbreak.
3. Kerr called Andre Iguodala the “babysitter” of the team after and that he was worth way more than his contract. And once again, as the Warriors go up against James Harden, Iguodala is likely the best defender against him. Unreal how great he is as a playoff performer.
4. NBA Finals starts next Monday. Here. We. Go. Time to start packing, better get your backpacks ready.