Don’t look now, but Golden State is back rolling. After gassing up and swapping out tires on pit row, the Warriors made a statement last night against OKC — putting the Thunder, and the rest of the league on notice. They are who we thought they were. And they weren’t going to let OKC off the hook.
Even without Kevin Durant, who was in streets. And despite struggling some for a time when Durant went down, Steve Kerr’s squad made it clear, they’ll be JUST FINE.
Because for all the worry about Golden State the past few weeks, the Warriors are the hottest team in the NBA — riding a four-game winning streak into Dallas tonight. And for all the worries about their up and down play — chasing their first two-game losing streak since April of 2015 with a three-gamer that included a 22-point blowout against San Antonio, the Warriors are back on the rails.
So as the league debates the merits of resting players in regular season games — how do you ignore the bounce back the Warriors have shown since they punted that Saturday night in San Antonio?
And that Thunder just aren’t in their class. There’s no real rivalry here. OKC isn’t good enough for this to be considered an actual rivalry. Don’t confuse OKC and their fans hating Durant with this being an actual rivalry. Because it’s not.
And even worse news for the West and the rest of the league is the MVP Steph Curry showed up last night. He’s been good this year, but not MVP good. Not the dominant player we’ve seen the last couple of years. But last night, he showed up as the cold-blooded assassin, we’ve seen in recent years, knocking down 7 three’s.
Show up like that, consistently, and you can’t beat these guys; certainly not in a best of 7.
And as great as he was, he wasn’t even the high scorer in the game, Klay Thompson was. And they were without Durant. And they still destroyed the Thunder in their own house.
Because that was a message performance. By Steph, who was efficient and deadly. By Klay, who made 7 3s on his way to a game-high 34.
And by the Warriors defense — holding Russ to just 15 points and a NEGATIVE -25 plus-minus, as the Thunder shot just 19 percent from outside.
You can argue that you’d rather have Westbrook than Curry, as the TNT guys did last night. And you could even argue that Westbrook is your league MVP, although I wouldn’t. Just don’t come in here and tell me the Thunder are in the Warriors’ class because they’re not. They weren’t when they had Durant, and they’re really not without him.