Had a chance to talk a lot of Warriors with Mitch and Pitch on ESPN Las Vegas 1100/100.9-FM. We touched on several topics, including the Warriors’ letdown against the Denver Nuggets, the reaction of Oklahoma City fans for Kevin Durant’s return and whether or not the passion is still there for the Warriors — and their fans, and plenty more.
We also hit on Warriors rookie Patrick McCaw, who played his college ball at UNLV.
–For as much as players try to downplay the importance of certain games, it’s obvious that Saturday’s Warriors-Thunder game was a biggie. How else can you explain both teams getting absolutely blown out in their next game? The Nuggets hammered Golden State and the Wizards drilled OKC on Monday.
It’s impossible to get up for every game. In the Warriors’ case, it wasn’t just beating OKC, it was beating Memphis the night before. Memphis had beaten the Warriors twice already this season, so that made it back-to-back emotional games for Golden State. They couldn’t muster one more big-time effort at Denver on Monday.
–The Warriors are the clear-cut favorite to win it all this year. Is there any doubt about it? But against the Nuggets we found out it can all be pretty fragile. The Warriors were without Klay Thompson and Zaza Pachulia, Shaun Livingston and David West, but nevertheless they still had a “Big 3” and Andre Iguodala.
But without Thompson in the lineup and then without Stephen Curry able to get anything going offensively — he went 4-for-18 from the field, including 1-for-11 from 3-point range — all of a sudden the Warriors looked vulnerable. It seems apparent that the Warriors need their four all-stars to each stay healthy throughout the playoffs. If they miss any one of them for a chunk of time in the postseason, they’re probably not the favorites.
–Mitch noted that it doesn’t seem the like the Warriors are playing with as much joy as they were last season, and quite frankly, that was a great observation. The Warriors aren’t having as much fun as last season and one of the reasons is because there’s more pressure on them this season. They’re expected to win it all with Durant. If they don’t, the season will be a failure — or so the storyline goes.
The other thing that has happened is that Warriors fans are less interested in this year’s team than they were last year’s team. Last year’s team won their first 24 games of the year, finished with an NBA-record 73 wins, then got to Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
Every game at Oracle Arena was a carnival in 2015-16 — filled with unbelievable 3-point shooting, incredible dunks, fantastic passes, etc., and wins … always wins.
Did losing a 3-1 lead sting? Of course it did, but it didn’t take away the six months of fun and games and spectacular basketball that happened before the last game. Nevertheless, everyone knows — fans included — that it’s all about winning it all. And since the novelty of Durant has worn off, a lot of fans have seemed to check out … waiting only for the postseason.
The Warriors can only do that too.