Golden State averted a near disaster last night against the Philadelphia. Finally home after a brutal road trip, and a stretch where they had lost 3 in a row and 5 of their last 7, the Warriors returned to Oracle only to look like they might get blown out by a Philly team that had absolutely nothing to play for.
Never a good sign that a team with nothing to play for, plays harder than a team in a battle for the top seed overall. But that’s exactly how it looked, with dubs down 16 in the third and 12 headed into the fourth. That was before Steph Curry finally got it going, making 3 of 5 from beyond the arc and finishing with a team high 29.
Everyone wants to know what’s wrong with the Warriors: pretty easy to answer. Kevin Durant went down.
And while there is never a good time for that to happen, it happened at one of the worst times possible, in the midst of their murderous part of their schedule where they had to play 8 games in 13 days with 7 of them on the road, and a ton of travel. And on top of that, frankly, Steph Curry just hasn’t been shooting it well. At least not like the MVP, Steph Curry we all know. Although he won’t cop to being in a slump; that’s part of it. Happens to even the best shooters. And on top of that, he’s just not getting the sort of clean looks that he used to. He’ll tell you, he’s just not making them right now. And that’s part of it. He has missed some open looks of late that he always knocks down. But not having Durant there, obviously is making it tougher on Curry and everyone else.
Positive news is, Curry got it going in the fourth quarter and the Warriors are hoping he’s turned the corner. That win, in and of itself, doesn’t make everything all right. But losing to Philly at home, while battling for the top seed would have made it all wrong. That would have been a disaster.
Steve Kerr can’t say getting the top seed is everything, because what’s he tell his team if they don’t get it. Just don’t tell me it’s not important. It might be the difference in dealing with Denver and Utah as opposed to the Grizzlies and Rockets. And we know how tough the Warriors are at oracle.
So that top seed is critical. And they know it. The only people who don’t think so are the ones who don’t have it. And they’re just trying to convince themselves they don’t need it.