Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Jordan Poole celebrate a game one victory (Photo: Found on Google using Creative Commons)
by Jon Donohue, assistant editor
The Golden State Warriors have been tackling obstacle after obstacle since the All-Star Break. As the regular season comes to an end, the Warriors are potential NBA finals contenders. At full strength, the Dub’s were the best in the league. Considering Curry is back for the playoffs, I believe that the Warriors will make it to the NBA finals with a shot to win, but it won’t be easy. I think that they will beat the Denver Nuggets in five games, the Memphis Grizzlies in six games, the Phoenix Suns in seven games, and the Milwaukee Bucks in six games. However, I could easily see the Warriors go down against the Grizzlies or the Suns in the Western Conference. If the Warriors are eliminated, then I have the Suns versus the Bucks in the finals again, with the Bucks winning in seven games.
The Warriors started their season off with a bang, leading the NBA for almost all of November and then going back and forth with the Suns in December. It wasn’t until Jan. 10 that the Warriors would fall from first place; this is when things started to fall apart. First, Draymond Green got injured. With one of the Dub’s best defenders, playmakers and leaders gone, the Warriors were left vulnerable to solid offensive teams. Then Klay Thompson returned. Fans initially rejoiced during his first game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. But Thompson has had a very inconsistent comeback, and they need consistency from him to have a fighting chance. To add insult to injury, Curry fell into one of the worst slumps of his career.
However, things started to turn around when Green stepped back onto the court. It instantly impacted his returning game against the Washington Wizards, assisting Curry to score 47 points, shooting 50% from the three-point line–an impressive feat. This was a clear example of the impact Green has on the court and shows that he is a key factor needed to take home an NBA title.
After that high, things seemed like they were turning around, but then, at the next game, against the Boston Celtics, Curry was tragically injured. With Curry gone for the last 12 games of the regular season, the Dubs lost six of those, multiple to some of the worst teams in the league. Their five-game win streak to end the season shows hope even without Curry, but now that he is back, they are definitely in the mix.
In Curry´s absence, Poole stepped up in a major way, scoring 67 threes in March–the most in the NBA. With Poole playing incredibly and Klay Thompson closing out the last three games in the regular season and game one against the Nuggets strong, the Warriors have hope for another great run to the NBA finals. In my opinion, the most important thing for the Warriors is consistency. Yes, they crushed the Nuggets in game one. But what about the next game?
As long as the Warriors play to their potential, they will glide past the Nuggets. Nikola Jokic, of the Nuggets, will have one amazing game and shut the Dubs out. However, I see the Warriors’ defense coming into play to stop Jokic, and with Jokic stopped, Denver does not have the firepower to take down the Warriors. Warriors in five.
In the semi-final versus the Grizzlies, Ja Morant will lead the Grizzlies to two wins. However, the Grizzlies are young and don’t have the experience to make a solid playoff run. I think if they can stop Morant from taking control, they will take the series. The depth and experience of the Warriors will play a major role in this matchup. Warriors in six.
For the conference finals against the Suns, they will clash for seven straight games. The season series was 2-2, and in the third game, the warriors only lost by four points without Curry. With both splash brothers on the court, the Warriors will drive through the Suns. While Chris Paul and Devin Booker are hungry for another shot at victory, they could not keep up with the Dubs at their best.
The NBA finals versus the Milwaukee Bucks will be a good series but will be easier than the Suns. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kris Middleton will have a great series, but it won’t be enough. The Bucks are the reigning champs, but they will meet their end against the Golden State Warriors. Jrue Holiday has also been playing well defensively, but the one-on-one matchups go towards the Warriors. Steph, Klay, and Draymond will begin another great few seasons of Warrior dominance.