The Golden State Warriors are facing adversity for the first time in a while. With Kevin Durant joining the Warriors, the expectations for this team skyrocketed. Adding a bonafide scorer to a 73-win team blew those expectations through the roof. Even after they moonwalked through the playoffs last year, everyone wrote this team in the NBA Finals for years to come.
And here we are. Golden State is facing elimination heading into Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. Who would’ve thought?
This is a true test for this team because adversity has been absent in this short two-year stint. The last time this team was truly battle tested was during their comeback against a Durant-led Oklahoma City Thunder team in 2016 which ultimately led to them losing to Cleveland in the Finals and Durant joining the squad.
But not once has this team been in this type of predicament. They’ve faced some minor injuries and even some very inconsistent, nonchalant basketball during the regular season which many just claimed to be boredom.
Today, however, their backs are against the wall. Golden State has struggled to stop Houston’s high-powered isolation offense. While I do believe they’ve contested at times very well, the Rockets have made difficult shots. Like Mark Jackson always says, “good defense but better offense.”
The big story in my eyes is the other side of the ball. Houston’s defense has stifled Golden State into an isolation chamber… literally! I’ve never seen this Warriors team so out of character. The switching of the Rockets has completely slowed down Golden States offense and has forced them into isolation situations. So much so that we have seen a ton of shot clock violations from this team which is a rare occasion.
Durant has attempted to take things into is own hands but that’s not really the best outcome for Golden State because their not used to that style of play but also because his teammates become statues. We saw a clip of Coach Steve Kerr talking to Durant during Game 5 telling him to trust his teammates which featured a little story from the Jordan days.
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) May 25, 2018
Golden State is uncomfortable offensively and all the credit goes to the defense of the Houston Rockets. Who would’ve thought that in their second season the Golden State Warriors would be truly battle tested?
The question now becomes how will they respond. Game 6 is in Golden State and I do expect them to win but Game 7 in Houston I’m not so sure. Even my confidence in a Game 6 victory for the Warriors is mightily slim. If the Warriors don’t make it to the Finals, the narrative following this team will be one to watch.
A big underachievement, will Durant walk, what does the future for Klay Thompson and Draymond Green look like will all be constant storylines during the off-season. The new-aged Warriors were in the discussion of the next dynasty as we expected many NBA Finals runs but yet here we are. They’re in an uncomfortable position with a lot to prove. If they don’t dot their eyes and cross their t’s, the Golden State Warriors could be packing their bags earlier than fans or history may have intended.