We all know how it's going down this year. The Warriors will win their third NBA title in four years. And for some reason, that doesn't sit well with some people. Folks are screaming that they're ruining the league, that the inherent drama of the playoffs is missing since we already know the outcome.
Golden State is simply too good to be beaten by anyone in a four game series. They're the varsity, the rest of the league is the JV.
Just when it seemed that they had a worthy challenger to their throne with Chris Paul and James Harden leading a talented Rockets squad to the best record in the league and home-court advantage in the Western Conference Finals, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green issued a reality check in the Warriors' 119-106 Game 1 victory.
37 points for KD. 28 for Klay. Rockets didn't stand a chance even with Harden's 41 points. Find more exclusive sports coverage: http://bleacherreport.com/ Subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/user/BleacherReport?sub_confirmation=1 Follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bleacherreport Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bleacherreport
Houston made easy work of their earlier playoff opponents this year and seemed to be up to the task of making this series unpredictable. They rarely turned the ball over and Harden has continued his MVP-worthy campaign. This could be the year, some thought, that Golden State was susceptible. Until they came to Houston to remind everyone that they're not. Perhaps for a game or two, but that's about it.
Especially if you turn the ball over and allow the Warriors to get out in transition the way Houston did to open the Western Conference Finals.
"If you miss shots or if you turn the basketball over, they're out," said James Harden, whose 41 points and seven assists weren't enough in Game 1. "They're getting dunks, they're getting 3's. I'm not sure how many transition points they had, but it was too many. That's what they thrive on. So, we've got to do a better job of not turning the basketball over, taking better shots, and getting back (defensively) and matching up."
If Houston has any hopes of evening this series, they'll need more than Harden and Chris Paul's heroics. Clint Capella, Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker, Gerald Green and Luc Mbah a Moute need to be exceptional.
"Nothing really changes," said Durant after scoring 37 points in Game 1. "We know it's a long series, a seven-game series, so we know they're going to come out with a lot of energy next game, try to even this thing up. So, we've just got to stay focused and be patient out there, and continue to keep playing hard."
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And as far as the Warriors dominance, nothing really changes as well. The intrigue and suspense of not knowing who will win might be missing, but when you can appreciate the game as performance art, nothing is more beautiful than seeing the Warriors operate at their absolute best.
I can't recall anyone saying that the Chicago Bulls ruined the NBA when Michael Jordan was at the apex of his powers and collecting six championships. There was no intrigue or suspense back then either. No one was beating them. And yet, we loved watching it.
That same sense of wonder and awe should be reserved for these Warriors. They're not ruining the NBA. They're actually making it better.