Here’s how we arrange a 5 many challenging West series/opponents for a Warriors in a Kerr era, 4 of whom could not lift off a array win. Will a fifth follow suit?
The reasons Houston rates No. 1 on this list is sincerely obvious, in box you’re usually now tuning into a NBA season. They’re a usually top-seed to see a Warriors in this run. Harden, Paul and Clint Capela are 50-5 together in a lineup. Collectively, a Rockets they move a descent punch that’s equal to or a shade improved than a Warriors. And, lastly, Houston has home-court advantage and, of course, they were exclusively built for this.
Basically, they’re spooky.
The Rockets can means a handful of intensity matchup problems and a insane professor/coach Mike D’Antoni can representation 3 or 4 lineups designed to locate a Golden State debility or exposed spot. The Rockets can run a floor, go half-court with pick-and-rolls and yes, we competence have listened they can fire 3-pointers. Virtually anyone who suits adult with a disproportion of Capela can cavalcade from deep, nonetheless some improved than others.
And interjection to partner manager Jeff Bzdelik, a Rockets’ invulnerability is improved than ever — nonetheless not utterly during a Warriors’ turn when a fortifying champs are sealed in.
The Warriors can’t means too many bad lapses given a Rockets can make we compensate for your mistakes. And for a initial time, a Warriors will start on a highway to start a West playoff series.
Amazing when we cruise how many of a Warriors’ bequest was roving on this series, in retrospect. If Oklahoma City doesn’t blow a 3-1 lead, maybe Durant stays and a change in energy strays from Golden State and a Durant-Russell Westbrook Thunder are a new bullies on a block.
But a Thunder did blow that 3-1 lead and here we are, with a Warriors creation story while Westbrook is muttering to himself on his possess private island.
The array came down to a span of pivotal Game 6 moments: Klay Thompson going destroyed earth during Oklahoma City while Durant and Westbrook brain-lock their approach around a floor. After Thompson forsaken a peppery 41 points in his biggest diversion ever, KD and Westbrook total to fire 20-for-58. Throw in 3 Westbrook turnovers in a final 55 seconds and OKC was totally dull removing on a craft to Oakland for Game 7. The Thunder weren’t mentally prepared for that moody or that game.
The one evidence opposite putting OKC here during No. 2 is that it was the No. 3 seed and a Warriors swept a Thunder in a 2015-16 deteriorate series. But LaMarcus Aldridge left after scoring 79 points in a initial dual games in a Thunder-Spurs West semifinals. Consider, too, that a Spurs maybe would’ve been too crafty to blow a 3-1 dilemma had they been in a same spot.
Since losing 3 games in that discussion final opposite a Warriors, Durant has nonetheless to humour 3 playoff waste total with a Warriors.
The Grizzlies in their “Grit-and-Grind” primary were once a headache for a Warriors given they slowed a diversion and pushed them around. Golden State averaged hardly some-more than 100 points in this six-game series and a Grizzlies hold a 2-1 lead during one point, apropos usually a second group to benefit a lead on a Warriors in a playoff array given a fun began in Oakland.
The signature play of a array was Curry’s three-quarters-court heave that kick a third-quarter buzzer and shell-shocked Memphis in Game 6, a series-clincher.
Before that, the Warriors gimlet a welts from too many Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Fortunately for Golden State, Tony Allen suffered a hamstring injury, provident a Warriors additional lumps (although a Warriors did display Allen by vouchsafing him fire as a array wore on).
Golden State subsequent played a Rockets in a 2015 West finals, nonetheless this was a Harden-Dwight Howard patrol that was already display signs of self-disintegration. The Rockets didn’t put adult a fight, losing in 5 games, and Harden was so miserable nearby a finish that he shot two-for-11 in Game 5. So, no, that Rockets group doesn’t rate forward of Memphis, even nonetheless they went further.
Wait, a group that was swept gets a top-five treatment? That says copiousness about a Warriors — who have flattened many challengers — and also about a resources per a Spurs in that series.
Well, actually, there was usually one circumstance: Kawhi Leonard’s third-quarter Game 1 ankle roll that knocked him out of a series.
Historians will always remind we a Spurs were cruising during a time, heading by as many as 25 points and shoving a Warriors into an unknown corner. Yes, it was usually one game, nonetheless a Spurs had Leonard, who was in a midst of an MVP-type season. And a Spurs also had sagely vets Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili and mythological manager Gregg Popovich, too.
But all flipped when Leonard fell. The Warriors rallied to win that diversion by dual points and Aldridge couldn’t lift San Antonio’s bucket a rest of a series. His solo act unsuccessful spectacularly as a Spurs were finished for by Game 4.
What a disproportion a year makes. In May of 2017, New Orleans was sitting during home and wondering if a large male examination with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins would work. Fast-forward a year and a Pelicans entered this array though Cousins (Achilles) … nonetheless with a recharged Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday, a renewed Nikola Mirotic and a new style of play sans “Boogie.”
After unconditional a Portland Trail Blazers in a initial round, a Pelicans — if zero else — presented an intriguing hazard for a Warriors. Golden State had to diversion devise for a luminary in Davis while not neglecting his assistance — generally Rondo and Holiday, who had torched Portland’s guards.
The Warriors finally figured out a Pelicans in 5 games, nonetheless many of them had shaken fourth quarters. Perhaps Golden State’s proclivity to keep a array as brief as probable had something to do with a group watchful on deck.
Next up? That No. 1 threat.
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