The Western Conference is in shambles and the Warriors are primed to profit
It's all about matchups.
There were three big questions for the Golden State Warriors game last night against the beleaguered Portland Trail Blazers:
1.) Would the Warriors win? Yes, they cruised to a 104-94 victory. They now have a 21-4 record, best in the NBA, and a 14-2 homecourt record, best in the NBA as well.
2.) Did Stephen Curry break the all-time 3PT record and the single game 3PT record in the same night? No, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. 17 of his 19 FGA were from deep, knocking down 6 of them. That left him well short of teammate Klay Thompson’s 14 triples in one game. But at 2964 career three-pointers, Curry’s only 10 short of breaking Ray Allen’s record of 2973.
3.) Did anyone get a season altering injury? Nope.
Wellp, all good news on that front. While I didn’t expect the Warriors to be this dominant without Klay Thompson, I did expect them to be competitive this season. Partly because I trust a healthy Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, and also because I believe the coaching staff knows how to get the best out of role players.
But a HUGE reason why I expected them to have a solid chance of making the Western Conference finals is more of a lack of fear of their opposition. For as much as Warriors fans were anxious about the team’s health and roster construction… that’s a concern for pretty much every single team in the NBA.
Take a look at Portland for example. Last year they were the 6th seed who were ousted in the first round unceremoniously by Denver. Now, their franchise is in turmoil with their two stars Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum injured and their new coach Chauncey Billups openly disgusted with his team.
The Dallas Mavericks were a seed higher than Portland last season, but this year have scuffled to a 12-12 record as reports swirl that star player Luka Doncic is being weighed down by the responsibility of carrying that franchise…and also being weighed down by his body weight.
The Lakers were ousted in the first round last year and responded by adding former MVP Russell Westbrook and Olympic legend Carmelo Anthony alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. They’ve been hit by injuries, a suspension to Bron, and some rough shooting from AD.
Who else in the West are you worried about? Phoenix? The team the Dubs just blew out by 20? Or maybe the Kawhi-less Clippers who the Dubs have already knocked off twice this season?
The Utah Jazz can’t even get respect from young players like Anthony Edwards on the trash Minnesota Timberwolves! How would you imagine this Dubs group percieves Utah?
The Warriors will have to continue improving if they want to win this year, but let’s not pretend the West is the juggernaut it used to be. The Dubs are in prime position to regain their rightful place atop the conference DESPITE MISSING TWO STARTERS.
The Jazz with Gay as small ball 5 might actually be dangerous in the playoffs. And Phoenix is just flat out good. I think us with Klay and Wise should take the West, but it’s going to be very far from easy.
Speaking of teams atop the West missing two starters, the Suns just beat the Celtics like a worn-out drum without Ayton and Book. The West may not be the juggernaut of yore, but both its top teams are for real. Dubs gotta keep their edge here.