Golden State of mind: So far, Playoffs domination
Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry, left, celebrates after scoring with teammate David West during the second half in Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Remember when the Shaq and Kobe-led LA Lakers went 15-1 in the 2001 NBA Playoffs?
That was a long time ago. But, that historic run comes to mind because right now, the Golden State Warriors are just overwhelming any opponent that stands in their path to the NBA Championship. They just seem way too talented to be stopped.
Through two games, the Utah Jazz seem to have absolutely no chance of upsetting this Western Conference powerhouse and advancing to the Conference Finals.
In game one, the Warriors had a poor shooting night from beyond the arc. They shot 7-for-29 (24 percent) from long-distance and in addition to that, they lost the rebounding battle, 44-37. Golden State made up for this on the defensive end, scoring 20 points off turnovers. Five Warriors still managed to end the game with double-figures in points. Even at their worst, the Warriors still cruised to a 106-94 victory.
Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert came alive in game two. The former erupted for a game-high 33 points, while the latter registered a double-double with 16 points and 16 boards. Unfortunately for the Jazz, it was only these two who played good music that night. Golden State once again had five players with at least ten points. They shot 45 percent (14-of-31) from distance, which is the norm for Warriors basketball. It was an easy 115-104 win for GSW, defending home court as expected.
As the series shifts over to Salt Lake City, the expectations remain the same: Domination by Golden State.
If you are a Jazz fan though, there is a tiny glimmer of hope. During the regular season, Utah scored a 105-99 win over Golden State at the Oracle Arena. It happened just last April 10, but it was a game wherein Klay Thompson sat out to rest. Gordon Hayward didn’t play either because of a left quadriceps contusion. Utah was led by George Hill who scored a team-high 20 points. The Jazz’s starting point guard did not play in game two due to soreness on his left big toe.
It’s not only Utah that’s been dealing with injuries in these Playoffs. It is actually the Warriors playing with the biggest handicap among all teams as Head Coach Steve Kerr has taken a temporary leave of absence to alleviate pain that stems from his ailing back. Kerr has not returned to the bench since he was ruled out of game three of their first round series against the Portland Trail Blazers. There is no timetable for his return. Mike Brown has taken the reins of the team in Kerr’s absence.
Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and even Draymond Green have also been dealing with nagging injuries in these Playoffs but even that doesn’t seem to matter. The Warriors just keep handing out those “L’s” to their opponents.
Unless the injury bug takes a big bite out of Golden State like it did with Blake Griffin and Tony Parker, there’s no stopping their winning ways. Their biggest threat to reclaiming the Larry O’Brien trophy lies in the East. The Cleveland Cavaliers will march to the NBA Finals to face the Warriors for the third straight year.
But, unlike Allen Iverson’s Philadelphia 76ers that faced the mighty Lakers 16 years ago, the Cavs will have more than a puncher’s chance to emerge victoriously in battle.
A great war is coming. And it’s going to be epic.
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