In the summer, when DeMarcus Cousins signed a cheapie deal to play for the Golden State Warriors there was a lot of oh my God moaning and groaning about how unbeatable the Warriors were going to be, and how the rest of the NBA was doomed. This season, the Warriors won 57 games, ten games less than their 67 wins two years ago. Fatigue is setting in.
Klay Thompson had his lowest field goal percentage in six years and his worst defensive rating ever. Steph Curry had his lowest PER in five years. Kevin Durant stroked the 3-ball at his lowest rate in 8 years and his PER dropped to a level he hadn’t seen in those same eight years. The Warriors lost some horrible games at home during the regular season. 23 point loss against Milwaukee. 28 point loss to the Thunder. 20 point loss to Toronto. 26 point loss to the Lakers. Last night’s choking away of a 31 point lead fits with what Oracle fans have seen this season. If it had not been for the Basketball Gods punishing the Warriors for signing DeMarcus Cousins on the cheap, we’d be talking about another Oracle choke.
But seriously and soberly, Cousins may have torn his quad. That is the worst case scenario. It may be strained. That is the best case scenario. Regardless, without Boogie the Warriors may escape the West, even Houston- though the Rockets present 3-point problems. It’s not until the Finals when things are in doubt.
7-footer and skilled Joel Embiid. Possible MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Warriors have zero answers to big men inside. And they are already tired. You can tell. Last night, was an example.
The cliché is the Warriors took their foot of the gas but no one is talking about why. They have played nearly 100 games every year for the past 5 years so they know how to conserve energy. You do it when you have a big lead and then just trust the subs. But the subs may make shots but they don’t defend beyond what is average for a backup group.
Lou Williams is a professional scorer and Montrezl Harrell adds havoc inside, not to mention that Patrick Beverly is like the kid who keeps his finger on the doorbell so it just rings and rings and rings and then when you open the door to tell him no thanks to magazine subscriptions he just laughs in your face.
The Clippers are out-talented in this series but they are not out hustled. They play hard. So do the Warriors. Or, so did the Warriors for three quarters.
Boogie Cousins was supposed to put the Warriors over the top with his screen setting, his rebounding, and offensive game. Not getting as many touches as he was used to getting wasn’t a thing months after an Achilles injury and working himself into shape. Boogie wanted the one experience that had alluded him in Sacramento and New Orleans. He wanted to play in the playoffs. Now, it was here. Then, in the second playoff game a disaster.
New Orleans people believe in hexes and karma but the Warriors on 60 Minutes said they don’t believe in those things. But the bayou witches mix potions and sticks pins into likenesses and pray to the basketball gods. And then funny things just have a way of happening at the worst time to people. Like tearing your quad when there is no contact.
Signing Boogie wasn’t fair but it wasn’t outside the rules. The Warriors can sign whoever they want, if they can pay them within the cap. Boogie put the Warriors at such an unfair disadvantage. It wasn’t an equal playing field, even among the elite. The Warriors already have the best perimeter talent. To let Boogie just walk in the door and take a seat next to Dray and Klay was almost akin to writing the Warriors name as three-peat champs.
Except. (Insert Herm Edwards voice). That’s why you play the game.
Crazy things happen.