For the past few years, the Golden State Warriors have dominated the NBA. They have gone to four straight NBA Finals and won three of them. However, while I hate to break it to you, their time is up.
The Warriors have been very fortunate the past few years with injuries by opposing teams’ players. In back-to-back Western Conference Finals, a superstar player got hurt against them. Last year Chris Paul got injured in game five and, in 2017, Kawhi Leonard got hurt in game one. On top of that, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were both injured in the 2015 NBA Finals when they won their first title.
Now, the Warriors got a taste of their own medicine when Demarcus Cousins went down with a season-ending injury in the team’s first round series against the L.A. Clippers. The way the responded is important to note… They blew a 31-point lead and lost, making it the biggest playoff comeback in NBA history.
If this happens against an eighth-seeded team that doesn’t even have an all-star player, they will likely play worse if the opposing team has star players. I understand that Steph Curry and Kevin Durant are two of the best players in the league, but this has got to be a concern for the Warriors. Although they have won titles without a dominate center for the past two years, I don’t see them winning it all this year.
They are looking at a potential rematch with the Rockets in the second round, and Houston wants revenge. James Harden is having a historical season scoring baskets, averaging 36.1 points per game. Last season, Houston was the first team to lead Golden State in any playoff series since Golden State lost game seven of the 2016 NBA Finals.
Once again, the Warriors got lucky. The Rockets missed an NBA record 27-consecutive 3-pointers in game seven and lost by nine points. With a historically bad shooting night and still staying within single-digits, it shows that the Rockets can potentially beat the Warriors. I’m not saying they will be the team to dethrone the Warriors, but they have been the closest team to do so since Durant joined them.
The biggest reason the Warriors won’t win it all is because of the pressure that they have. The pressure of three-peating and keeping the core together will be too much for them. The last time they had pressure against a healthy opponent, they blew a 3-1 lead and lost to the Cavaliers. Only five times in NBA history has a team three-peated, and it hasn’t happened since the L.A. Lakers in 2002.
Durant, Cousins and Thompson are all free agents after this season. Durant has been criticized for joining the Warriors, Cousins was basically a one-year rental and Thompson has been overshadowed by Curry his entire career. If they fail to win it all, it is likely that at least one, if not all three, are going to leave.
They obviously have a great team that is heavily favored, but I think Goliath will finally fall. You might think I’m crazy, but don’t be surprised when June rolls around and another team is holding up the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship trophy.