Friday, December 11, 2015

Golden State. Warriors indeed

Everybody pretty much knows about the Golden State Warriors. They're defending world champs and have started this season on a long win streak. Currently, it stands at 24-0 and counting. It's a truly impressive run but, given some other factors, flat-out amazing. Consider:

Of their 24 wins, 14 of them have been on the road. Only 10 home games so far. Of course, this will balance out as the season progresses, but it also means the Warriors have a slightly home-friendlier schedule in the future. And good luck beating these guys in their own house -- the Oracle.

Since November 28, almost two weeks ago, the Warriors haven't slept in their own beds. That's because they had to embark on a grueling 7 game road trip that took them all over the country, including Toronto.

No team in the history of the NBA has ever swept a 7 game road trip. No matter how good they were, it's just too hard. Throw in a different city every couple days, sometimes back-to-back games, all those air miles, being shuffled from planes to buses to strange motels, to hostile arenas filled to the nosebleed brim with hostile fans, and it will take its toll on the finest conditioned and most talented athletes eventually. Both mentally and physically. That's why no team has ever been able to pull it off before. It's-just-too-damn-hard. Especially when every team they face is bringing their A-game at home trying to knock off the champs in front of their own rabid fans. Brutal.

Your truly thought the contest earlier tonight with the Warriors visiting the Celtics was a "trap" game. The streak would come to an end. It has to eventually, right? And the Beantowners are no slouches these days. After basically blowing it up a couple years back, President Danny Ainge is slowly but surely rebuilding the Celtic roster through the draft picks he acquired. They can play and will get better in the future. But that's a story for another day.

And sure enough the Celtics gave the Warriors all they could handle. The game had to go into two overtimes before the Warriors narrowly prevailed. And let's not forget Golden State was without the services of a few key players, notably sharp-shooter Klay Thompson. And it was the sixth game of the grueling road trip mentioned above. If ever they were ripe to get beat, that was the time and place.

But somehow they pulled out yet another victory. The fourth quarter (and overtimes) in Boston was definitely gut check time for the Warriors. Yet they found a way.

Golden State's reward? Take a shower, put on civilian clothes, hop on a bus to the airport, and fly to Milwaukee for the next game the following night (Saturday). Another motel, more bus rides, and more crazy hostile fans to face in the arena when it's showtime.

True, the Bucks aren't exactly a top-flight team, but the Warriors have to be gassed. And also true is this will be a "getaway" game for Golden State. Somehow slog through it and -- hurray -- they finally get to go back to the comforts of home again. Just one more plane ride of a few thousand miles.

Will they suffer a let down against the otherwise inferior Bucks and get beat? It's entirely possible. Or will they gut out the last road game to be the first to ever finish the 7 game road sweep?

If the Warriors win in Milwaukee, they have a long home stand that awaits them coming up next. The most notable game is against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Christmas day two weeks hence. And wouldn't that be quite the Christmas present for NBA fans if the Warriors were still undefeated when Lebron and company hit town for a mini rematch of last year's Finals? You just KNOW the Cavs would bring everything they have.

And for whatever it matters, let's also not forget Golden State continues on their win streak while their head coach Steve Kerr remains out rehabbing a back problem. They have Luke Walton (Bill's boy) calling the shots. A mere novice.

Yet that's the thing about Golden State. You or I could probably "coach" these guys.  Sure, Steph Curry gets a lot of attention -- as well he should -- but as a team, they're so good they could run on autopilot, and pretty much have under Luke.

But first the stop in Milwaukee. If they want to complete the road sweep and go 25-0 the Warriors have to handle the Bucks. Most everyone would consider Golden State a heavy favorite in this game. And well they should be, even without the services of Klay Thompson. The Warriors would be crazy to rush him back into action for this game. Much smarter to sit him out for a few more days until they get home and his ankle has had a chance to heal some.

It's only the Bucks -- right? But don't be surprised if -- well -- something unforeseen happens. Never underestimate the wrath of the basketball gods when it comes to NBA history being made.

I'm just saying......

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