The Golden State Warriors started off this season as the favorites to win the 2019 NBA Finals and as of this week, they’re still number one. If they can do it, this would be their fourth title in five years. Following not so closely behind in odds to win the whole thing – according to Vegas, anyway – are the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, and Houston Rockets. The Warriors own the best record in the West at 45-21, but they’ve run into a rough patch as of late. Despite the recent upsets, will this Warriors team put up a third banner?
Catch the potential future champs in action! Shop Cheap Golden State Warrior Tickets!
Yesterday, the Warriors were dealt a super surprising loss by the lowly Phoenix Suns, who were on a record 18-game losing streak before last night. Golden State also suffered the worst loss in head coach Steve Kerr’s tenure last Tuesday, a 33-point defeat at the hands of the Boston Celtics. Not to mention the fact that they’ve only won four of their last ten games. These few weeks after the All Star break have not been kind to the darlings of the NBA. Still, most people would label them the best team overall in the league.
So is this just a run of bad luck… or are the Warriors losing steam?
With a stellar lineup of Thompson, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins, and Kevin Durant, it’s no wonder this team has been favorites to win the title since odds were even available. Still, Coach Kerr is ready for his team to start building momentum, lock down that No. 1 seed, and enter the postseason on a high, saying he disliked the way they entered the playoffs last year.
Odds to win the 2019 NBA Finals via Vegas Insider:
|Golden State Warriors||1/2|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||25/1|
|Portland Trail Blazers||75/1|
And it’s not all bad news. The Warriors have shown nothing if not resilient.
After that blowout loss to the Celtics, the Warriors were back with a vengeance against the solid young Denver Nuggets team. They bounced back easily, seemingly out for blood, with a 122-105 win on Friday, reminding everyone that they’re the reigning champs for a reason. The team was up 22-6 at the start of the game. Klay Thompson, after sitting out for two games, put up a ridiculous 39 points and hit 9 of 11 three-point shots. According to CBS Sports, it’s like they can just “flip the switch” and prove they’re the best team in the league whenever they want.
But we can’t not talk about that loss to the Suns, which Thompson called their worst loss of the season after Golden State blew a 16-point lead. Thompson called out Warriors fans for not providing them with enough energy, saying, “I expect our crowd to be a little more into it, too…We need that energy, especially this time of the year.” But are the fans really the ones to blame? The Warriors haven’t lost to the Suns in 19 games… since 2014. Add in the fact that Kevin Durant left the game during the fourth quarter with an ankle injury, and some Golden State fans might be getting a little bit worried about the postseason. KD put up 25 points before coming down awkwardly and walking off the court under his own power.
(Update: After an initial assessment, Kerr says Durant’s injury isn’t that bad.)
According to Steph Curry, “It gives us something to really shoot for in these last 17 games, to take care of our business… And it’s not just about winning games, but how we’re playing. We say that all the time, and at this point, it really needs to resonate – walking off the floor every night and feeling like we did get better, and not taking any steps back at this point in the season.”
But perhaps this is more of a “wobble” than an actual fall by the Warriors. According to Thompson, they can’t be perfect for 82 games and it’s a long season. Even the best teams are allowed to have a few bad nights, right? And after all, they’re still the champs until they’re knocked off and they’re still heavy favorites to win.
Curry admits that losing is an uncomfortable feeling and says they “haven’t been able to put together a consistent stream of games after the All Star break,” but they’re just going to focus on their goals and keep the big picture in mind.
We’ll see how they fare going forward soon enough. The Warriors face a tough test in their next matchup against the Houston Rockets, a team that has been climbing the odds to win the Finals since James Harden’s MVP performance and their seven-game winning streak. Will the Warriors bounce back from their worst loss of the season to break that hot streak? We’ll be watching to find out…