Before last night’s overtime blitz courtesy of Steph Curry, there was a lot of NBA amnesia going around like some sort of viral flu that seeps into the cerebral cortex erasing memory. Before last night, the talk was that the Cavs had a chance at beating the Warriors because the Warriors were vulnerable, and the Spurs had a chance at beating the Warriors because the Dubs were vulnerable. It is how the Steph Curry sun manifests itself within the NBA geography; when he disappears for a few days, you forget the world really is a brighter place and the Warriors are an exceptional team and beating them four times in a series is going to be nearly impossible and they are defending champions for a reason. Oh, and they won 73 games.
With Curry’s presence, even coming off the bench, the Warriors energy, confidence and especially their swag is multiplied by a thousand and it doesn’t matter if he’s making his shots or not. Curry’s aggression after the injury was a notice to all comers: my game ain’t gong to change. Curry knows, Klay knows, Igoudala knows, Draymond knows, Kerr knows, the Warriors are not just the Steph show. Last night Draymond made huge plays, Klay got it going in the second half and the Warriors dribbling, passing, cutting and court vision exemplified why they are at the top of the NBA ecosystem. They eat first. Everybody else is fighting for second.
But it all comes down to Steph, the MVP, doesn’t it? He changes things. His 17 overtime points were particularly brilliant when you think about the fact that a) he was supposed to be rusty in this game and b) no NBA player ever scored 17 points in an overtime period. Not Kobe. Not MJ. Not Wilt. Rare air for Curry, particularly since he was not hitting his shots early. But he moved and cut well, he didn’t settle as he drove to the rim and his dribble was sick. This is how Curry has dominated the NBA to be their best player and win back-to-back MVP’s.
Because all the Warriors dribble and drive and make threes and finish in the lane, it’s easy to forget exactly how dominant Curry is as a point guard and scorer and dribbler and passer and shot maker. When he doesn’t play, the Warriors do all the things the Warriors do. When he does play, he takes them to a stratospheric level. It’s enough to make the other playoff contenders have a stomachache.
With Curry playing like Curry, how are the Warriors going to be beaten? Are we looking at a Shaq/Kobe 4 Finals in five years? Or a MJ and company 6 Finals in 8 years? Or a Kobe/Pau 3 Finals in 3 years? Or a LeBron/Wade 4 Finals in 4 years? Or a Duncan/Parker 3 Finals in five years?
Special teams happen to the NBA and they dominate the era they are in and the rest of the NBA has to grit their teeth and take their beating. Sometimes you are just born at the wrong time. It happened to Karl Malone who couldn’t beat Michael and it happened to Chris Webber who couldn’t beat Shaq and it happened to Dwight Howard who couldn’t beat Kobe and it may happen to the Cavs and the Spurs who may not be able to beat the Warriors.
73 wins means you are just better than everybody playing right now. In the playoffs, that doesn’t disappear. The Warriors biggest opponent is the Warriors odd voodoo luck. Other than that, the NBA is out of ideas.
The best player on the deepest team with the best coach, playing a style no one can defend, is marching through the playoffs and will advance to the conference finals tomorrow.
Just like the Warriors wrote it up.
photo via llananba