Warriors Wild Path to Dominating NBA
By Rishi Nachnani
On Tuesday, April 24, the Warriors knocked off the Spurs, eliminating the initial obstacle in their way of bringing home their third championship in the last four years. Taking down opponents with ease in the postseason became the norm for the Warriors last year.
I had the opportunity to attend Game 5 at Oracle Arena, where the Spurs nearly overcame a double digit deficit to bring it down to just two points before Kevin Durant hit the dagger in the final minutes to put an end to their season. Klay Thompson dominated the mid-range game in the first half, and Durant took over in the second half with both of them combining for 49 points. The crowd was electrified as they have been all throughout the playoffs.
However, opponents this year seemed to pose more of a challenge for the Warriors than in previous seasons. The last three years have followed similar storylines, as the Warriors have faced the Cavaliers in the finals in each year. Other teams didn’t seem to be much of a threat to the the Warriors.
Golden State’s road to victory was almost too easy last year. Finishing with an unprecedented 16-1 playoff record; they dominated every team they faced, with their one loss coming to the Cavs in the finals.
The Warriors dominance has been on another level. They have countless weapons and are by far the most efficient team in the league, offensively and defensively. Curry, Durant, Thompson, Green, and Iguodala: there hasn’t been a more stacked team in the history of the league.
Opponents around the league have been rebuilding their teams for the sole purpose of taking down this powerhouse.
Sports radio host at 95.7 the Game (the Warriors flagship station) Matt Steinmetz expressed his views on the Warriors dominance.
“Teams now realize to be successful — or to actually win a title — they’ll have to overcome Golden State,” Steinmetz said. “Golden State relies on switching on defense and having five players at the offensive end who can all do multiple things. You can’t beat the Warriors unless you can match their talent level, smarts, and perhaps most important, defensive intensity.”
The Rockets have also put together a talented roster this year, as Steinmetz discussed.
“The Houston Rockets have tried to build a team that can beat the Warriors,” Steinmetz added. “They’ve added Chris Paul, one of the best point guards in the NBA, and also acquired a couple of defensive players in Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker.”
These teams know that if they want to bring a title to their city, they will cross paths with the Warriors in the playoffs.
This year, the Warriors finished second in the Western Conference standings, behind the Rockets, who finished with the best record in the league at 65-17. These two teams are facing off in the Western Conference Finals, with the Rockets owning home court advantage.
Sports radio host at 95.7 the Game, Daryle “The Guru” Johnson, shared his thoughts on the series.
“The Warriors are special because on top of the obvious god given talent and the way they mesh, they’re by far the smartest team in the league, and with Kerr at the helm they’ll win this series in five. Rockets have to show me mentally they have grown,” predicted Johnson.
Johnson also shared his thoughts on the outcome on this year’s finals.
“The NBA finals will consist of GSW vs Boston. I love what LeBron is doing, but Brad Stevens has the Celtics playing like a unit of hungry dogs. They’ve overcome injuries and Stevens has them in the right positions to succeed. I see GSW winning in 4. Yes a sweep,” said Johnson.
With the Finals looming, it might be a different opponent out of the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers underwent major roster changes at the trade deadline, forcing them to rebuild their chemistry midway through the season. Cleveland got rid of veterans Isaiah Thomas and Dwyane Wade, and acquired Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson, and George Hill.
These new additions are simply a supporting cast to the best player in the world, LeBron James. LeBron bounced back in the Eastern Conference semifinals, leading Cleveland to a sweep of the Raptors, who had a very disappointing series.
Yet, the glory days for the Celtics are possibly returning. Without the help of Kyrie Irving, Boston’s young group has had an incredible playoff run. Jaylen Brown has been one of the key contributors that has lead the success, along with another unlikely contributor in Terry Rozier. The rookie Jayson Tatum has had a great playoff debut, leading his team in scoring throughout the playoffs.
Whoever comes out of the Eastern Conference doesn’t seem to stand a chance, as the Warriors are in place to bring home another championship to the Bay.