That Golden State Kool-Aid can’t be tasting too good today.
Well, at least, the Warriors are consistent. Two Western Conference finals games in Oklahoma, two blowout losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Hence, the team that was ranted about all season, lauded for setting the record for most wins in an NBA season, even crowned by some as the greatest of all time, is on the brink.
All of it was premature, too soon. It was a rush to judgment, a reason for a party and a parade even before there was something to celebrate.
NBA America, fueled by media with 24 hours of TV programming to fill, was all in and bought it.
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Those who spoke out against the coronation – even former NBA stars – were deemed haters. Those non-bandwagon reporters who tried to warn the masses were dismissed, shouted down.
It was all about the here and now. No one wanted to hear about the past, the players that put in work against a league that put up a resistance, where you had to earn it on the hardwood, not in the court of public opinion.
This Warriors thing was deep, unsettling almost. It was the Pied Piper leading the rats out of the city.
Hence, no one saw them here – on the brink of turning a magical season into a bust in a single playoff series.
Want proof? Just check out all of ESPN’s NBA experts. Every single one of them picked Golden State to beat the Thunder. Yes, no one gave the Thunder a chance.
It’s hard to get people in sports to agree on anything. Except the Warriors, that is.
Indeed, it was a foregone conclusion. Please.
Forget about winning an NBA championship. The Warriors might not even make it to the Finals to defend their championship.
That’s right. Following OKC’s 118-94 suitable-for-framing rout at Chesapeake Energy Arena Tuesday night, the Warriors are down three-games-to-one in the best-of-seven series.
And not even the biggest Golden State cheerleaders can pooh-pooh this mess. It’s not like the Warriors played great and had a bad break or two that cost them these ballgames.
Oh no, baby.
It’s been a total dress down.
Worse, the Warriors’ two-game losing streak is more telling than anything. They never lost two games in a row all season en route to their record-setting 73 wins in the regular season.
And that Steph Curry, you know the league’s first ever unanimous MVP, has been terrible.
There’s no other way to describe him. In Game 4, Curry, the crowned best shooter ever, missed nine of his first 10 shots en route to a 6-for-20 night from the floor. He was just 2-for-7 on uncontested shots, including 0-for-5 from three-point range. That’s from the ESPN stat geeks.
“This series is not over,” said Curry, who had 19 nonfactor points. “We have to believe in ourselves.
“There’s obvious frustration. It’s a terrible feeling once again not stepping up and being ourselves and playing our game. But I think we’re a special team. This isn’t how we’re going to go out.”
Sounds good, predictable. But the facts of the case say something different.
It’s not just Curry who has played poorly. Enter Draymond Green. It wasn’t long ago that some were calling him the best all-around player in the Association. After all, Green had the NBA’s best plus-minus this season at +1,070.
In the last two games in OKC, the Warriors have been outscored by 73 points with Green on the floor. That’s not a leak. The dam has busted.
“I bring energy to this team and I have not been that,” Green said after the game. “I think our energy goes as my energy goes and I’ve been awful. At the end of the day, I know I’ve got to be better in Game 5.”
That’s all good and well. But we haven’t even mentioned the Thunder and what they have done.
There’s no fluke or luck going on here. OKC took down the over-praised San Antonio Spurs. The Thunder won two playoff games in San Antonio in the previous round. Don’t forget that the Spurs lost just one game at home all season.
So when the Thunder won Game 1 in Oakland it was a sign of things to come.
The lesson for all: stop crowning folks until they actually accomplish something. Put the Kool-Aid down.