Similarly suffocating as the early morning fog along the Bay Bridge many a day, Steph Curry was a blinding fugue in Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Cleveland. Effective, chilling and without peer on this Friday night, Curry had the last word after a miserable shooting performance in Game 3. Anyone thinking this didn’t matter to him, this title of world’s best, Curry schooled you.
After two games in Cleveland where their two stars took turns being epic, the Warriors regenerated talk about a Warriors dynasty. Three titles in four years, was the exclamation point.
If being a dynasty is the best of all things, the worst of all things is being a twelve month champion, a one and done, as if luck had something to do with it. The calculation is apparent in how these things are analyzed. You are no longer special because you could not extend excellence and therefore someone in the league has figured you out.
The Golden State Warriors were one Kyrie clutch shot from a repeat, one missed shot from ecstasy, one made shot to erase a broken heart. Now it has happened. They joined the LeBron Heat as the last two teams to repeat.
But no longer can the Warriors be mocked as if they are not great. They are not in the category of the 2004 Pistons and 2006 Heat and 2008 Celtics and 2011 Mavericks. One championship and done. They are not in the category of the Spurs who were great but couldn’t win back to back titles.
The Warriors have had great storylines. Remember that time the Warriors snuck up on the league and won a title? Remember that time the Warriors won 73 games? And lost. Remember the time no one could beat the Warriors in the playoffs? Remember when the Warriors were supposed to be dethroned by the Rockets and swept the Finals?
The Warriors won a title in six games (2015). In five games (2017). In four games (2018). Either they are getting better or the opponents are getting worse.
The Oscar Robertson clique of Warriors deniers, what they said all along about not trusting a jump shooting team over the long haul because jump shooters have those bad shooting nights, is true. But only if that jump shooting team doesn’t play the best perimeter defense in the league and have four players on the floor at all times that can create, get to the rim, pass out the post, and drain a three.
And even with an abundance of wealth, pressure was the equalizer in a way three point shotmaking never could be. The Warriors thrive when everything is on the line or when they look frail or when they look dominating. When heroes were needed, heroes arrived. The Warriors are no longer Stephen Curry’s team. They aren’t Kevin Durant’s team either. They are this new age experiment where two dominant talents share in the glory. They need Steph, the offense is about him. They need Durant. Everything else is about him.
No one knows where this Warriors team can go from here after the parade. All dynasties end and it’s hard to see where this ends, though it will. But a one man team cannot stop them and as of right now there isn’t a NBA team that can match them in teamwork, basketball i.q., shot making and defense.
The dynasty is not beginning. It is not a myth or a dream. The dynasty is here.