Saturday, June 11, 2016

One More Time

No team has played a longer season than the Golden State Warriors, in the sense of expectations and concentration.  They started the season by breaking the record for consecutive wins, and ended it with a new record for wins in a season.
Every team played them every game to be the among the few that defeated them.

And the season has been longest for Steph Curry, the focus of so much attention.  In the playoffs Curry has been injured, worked his way back, then got injured again more seriously, and worked his way back from that.  The Warriors had to battle from a 3-1 deficit against the best team they've played this year, the Thunder at their peak.

So maybe Curry and his Splash Brother were a little numb for the first games of the Finals. They played well enough to win the first two at home, giving scoring opportunities to other players who made the best of them.  As I suggested last time, the Dubs would need a big game from at least one of them to win on the road in Cleveland.  In the third game of the series, neither had that game, and the Warriors got blown out.

In the days between games, most of the media focused on Curry--what's wrong with him?  Is this the MVP?  Is he done, is he going to be an epic fold?  No.  Actually, no.  On Friday Steph Curry scored 38, Klay Thompson scored 25, the Warriors broke the record for made threes in a finals game with 17--11 of which the Splash Brothers made.  The Warriors won their 88th game of the season--no NBA team has ever won more.  They return to Oracle Arena up 3-1 in the series, ready to close it out at home and repeat as NBA champions.

But it wasn't just the Splash Brothers--again it was Strength in Numbers, including one player (James McAdoo) who hadn't played in the previous finals games. With defense and their fast paced runs in the third and fourth quarters, they wore out the Cavs.  Credit Kerr again for game management.  ESPN tells the story.

Update: Check out this account of a single fourth quarter play that the writer says won the game and essentially the series, while showing the Warriors' strengths and the Cavs' dilemmas dealing with them.

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