With March Madness nearing its’ end, the NBA Playoffs are around the corner as the Golden State Warriors look to defend their title and become the first repeat champions since the 2014-2015 LeBron James-led Miami Heat. The Warriors have had a subpar season in terms of their standard of excellence. Many of it is injuries that could be used as blame for their “vanilla” season, which is outrageous to say because they’re sitting comfortably in the number two spot in the Western Conference. Besides a surging Houston Rockets team, who’ve already clinched home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, the warriors are still the deepest team in the league and many would consider them the favorites to be repeat champions.
Unfortunately, this season has been injury riddled for the Warriors, which causes concern for many who are rooting for the Dubs to repeat. Over the last month, the Warriors have seen each of their four All-Stars sidelined with injuries. Some have been serious like Steph Curry’s re-occurring ankle sprains and the recent grade 2 MCL sprain, Klay Thompson’s broken right thumb, and Kevin Durant’s broken rib. Draymond Green’s pelvis contusion isn’t as serious as the others, but any injury should be taken with considerable caution.
On the bright side for the Warriors, Kevin Durant returned last night, but his performance was cut short because of an ejection in the first quarter. The Warriors’ bench kept the game in arms reach, but once again they couldn’t find a way to get the victory, making it their third loss in a row. Now, that puts the Warriors at 3-7 over their last 10 games. Coach Steve Kerr has remained confident in his core by saying “Regular season or playoffs, we can beat anybody in the league without Steph” which might be tested after he later stated that “ There’s no way he’s playing in the first round.” The news of a two-time MVP being out of a playoff series should be cause for major concern, but with three other All-Stars on the team, many are confident that the Warriors can at least make it to the Western Conference Finals without their starting point guard.
The Warriors have the right to be confident they are the gold standard of the league, but with a multi-variety of injuries and recent surges from teams like the Portland Trail Blazers and Rockets, the Warriors might need to kick it into overdrive if they want to establish a standard of excellence before the playoffs.
Photo from @Warriors Twitter