Friday, April 1, 2016

Golden State Warriors. Gassed?

One possible record just went down. The Golden State Warriors got beat at home by the Boston Celtics. No team in NBA history has even gone a full regular season without being defeated at home. 

The only team left that can possibly run the regular-season home-turf table is the San Antonio Spurs. But their coach Gregg Popovich has already gone on record saying he doesn't care about that. He's looking into the future of the playoffs and trying to get his team ready for the grind that comes next. Smart? Probably. And given his track record over the years, would anybody seriously question the wisdom of Coach Pop?

The Warriors still have a shot at another record -- that being surpassing the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls 72-10 regular season mark. With six games left to go, they need to win 4 of them to tie, and 5 to break it. Will it happen? Maybe.

Thing is -- the Warriors look gassed. In recent games against "inferior" competition, they have struggled. True, they typically find a way to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat and escape with a win, but they're no longer rolling over other teams like they did earlier in the season.

All due credit to Boston and their young head coach Brad Stevens. They had a game plan against the Warriors, stuck to it, and came away with a well-deserved victory. This was no fluke by any means. Yet the irony was somewhat delicious that the splash monsters finally went down at home on April Fools day.

Idle thought: We all remember the Andy Griffith show, with Barney, Opie, Aunt Bee, Floyd the barber, and Otis the town drunk. So why was it called the Andy Griffith show when he went by the name Andy Taylor on the program?

While it's tough to find fault with a 68-8 record, could it be the GS Warriors have overplayed their hand and might be ripe to get knocked off in the playoffs?

It's not like other teams don't have scouting reports and watch a lot of film. In recent times, the Warriors seemed to have been "solved" somewhat. Opponents know GS pretty much lives and dies by the three point shot. When they're going in, they're pretty much unbeatable.

But the Celtics exposed something else. Dog Stephen Curry all over the court, make him work for every little thing, and good things just might happen as the game wears on and he gets tired. Further, the once crisp no-look cross-court and bounce passes the Warriors have used for such great success are now being anticipated and intercepted. In short, the unpredictable has come to be expected.

Curry himself remains a pillar of -- something. There's a difference between confidence and being smug/arrogant. The former is a good thing in the world of sports, while the latter often leads to spectacular failures. Notables like Tiger Woods, Mike Tyson, and more recently Conor McGregor/Ronda Rousey found that out the hard way. Among others over the years, they got to the point where they thought their it-shay no longer unk-stay. Down they went.

These days, Stephen Curry thinks he's all THAT. He'll no doubt continue to jack up long three point shots, constantly smirk, and maintain his loathsome habit of chewing on the corner of his toothguard every chance he gets. The latter is no more in the "cool" category than would be a major league baseball hitter stepping out of the batter's box after ever pitch to unfasten and refasten his batting glove. What's that? THEY do it too? Well then. Never mind, but it doesn't make either any more palatable. Would you want to see a star defensive tackle in the NFL adjusting his cup after every play? Me neither. Same sort of thing.

The Boston game exposed Curry on another level. See his passes anticipated and intercepted. See the Celtics trap him and cause him to commit a whopping 15 turnovers. They "picked his pocket" off the dribble, shut him down when he tried to drive to the basket, and had him otherwise befuddled throughout. FIFTEEN turnovers? All by himself? Really? And when's the last time you saw an NBA player whistled for an "over and back" violation? It happened to Steph at the hands of the Celtics.

He was totally discombobulated. And don't think for a second other teams didn't take note of what Brad Stevens and the Beantowners accomplished against Curry and the heretofore high-flying Warriors.

Especially that guy with the scraggly white beard in San Antonio that runs the Spurs.

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