The Warriors, The Greatest Team Of The Modern Era, Are Not Invincible

    The Warriors and Cavaliers will resume the 2018 NBA Finals with tonight’s Game 3 in Cleveland with Golden State up 2-0. LeBron James is averaging 40 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 10.5 assists so far in this series, but it hasn’t been enough to offset the overall excellence of the Warriors. 

    2018 NBA Finals Game 1 Mini-Movie

    Game 1 of this NBA Finals matchup dynasty was a thriller! We take an in depth look at the story behind it all and the best from Game 1! The Golden State Warriors came out on top in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals pulling away in overtime to defeat the Cavaliers 124-114, despite LeBron James’ 51-point performance.

    Steph Curry is reminding everyone how truly special he is, setting an NBA Finals record with nine three-pointers in a game and averaging 31 points and 8.5 rebounds through the first two games. Kevin Durant is averaging 26 points and nine boards, Klay Thompson is averaging 22 while making 55% of his shots and Draymond Green is stuffing the stat sheets with 9.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 1.5 blocks and 2.5 steals per game. 

    Despite facing an 0-2 deficit, Cleveland has played well in both losses. We all know how remarkable James was with his 51 points, 8 rebounds and eight assists in Game 1. He followed that up with 29 points,13 assists and nine rebounds in Game 2, Kevin Love had 22 points, George Hill added 15, and the Cavs were within striking distance for most of the game.

    And herein lies the problem with facing these Warriors. You have to play a perfect game to beat them. And winning a series against them right now is virtually impossible.

    With the addition of Durant last season, the Warriors have jumped into the discussion as perhaps the greatest NBA team of all-time. It’s undeniable that they’re the most dominant team of the modern era, with four future Hall of Famers wreaking havoc in Durant, Curry, Green and Thompson.

    And it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that, in a matter of days, they’ll win their third championship in four years and back-to-back joints since the addition of KD made them utterly unbeatable in a seven-game series.

    2018 NBA Finals Game 2 Mini Movie

    Behind Stephen Curry’s NBA Finals record, 9 three pointers, the Warriors were able to outlast the Cleveland Cavaliers 122-103 to take a 2-0 lead! Subscribe to the NBA: http://bit.ly/2rCglzY For news, stories, highlights and more, go to our official website at http://www.nba.com Get NBA LEAGUE PASS: http://www.nba.com/leaguepass

    So where does that leave us? 

    Other than marveling at the beauty of their offensive execution, which tends to overshadow their brilliance on the defensive end and the masterful job by Steve Kerr and the rest of the coaching staff, we can only sit and wonder, “Who can actually beat this team?”

    Until we see how free agency and trades shake out for the 2018-2019 season, speculation can only be held within the realm of the past, where a few legendary teams would be able to give them a run.

    With Durant coming to the Warriors via free agency, that vaulted them past the velvet rope and into the rarefied air reserved for the very best of the best teams to ever grace the hardwood. And thus, it would take a squad of similar dominance to wipe them out in a playoff series. 

    Here are the teams that could do so:

    The 2001 Los Angeles Lakers

    Only two teams have gone 16-1 in the playoffs en route to winning the NBA championship – last year’s Warriors and the ’01 Lakers. As great a defender as Klay Thompson is, Kobe would work him over mercilessly. 

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    Golden State would get pummeled by Shaq in the paint, with the “Diesel” making mincemeat of anybody that attempted to guard him. 

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    And Los Angeles had Robert Horry, Derek Fisher, Rick Fox and Brian Shaw, who along with Kobe, could all splash from beyond the three-point stripe. 

    The 1996 Chicago Bulls

    It’s easy to look directly at the pairing of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen on the offensive end and say that the Warriors would have their hands full, but most people don’t realize how great the Bulls were defensively with Jordan, Pippen and Rodman wreaking havoc. All three of them are widely regarded as among the greatest defenders ever at their respective positions.

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    And goodness gracious gawd a’mighty, the isolated battle between Draymond Green and Rodman would be a hoops aficionado’s dream. Chicago was long, fluid, tough, battle-tested and versatile on both ends of the floor, with Toni Kukoc’s contributions as well, which most people sleep on. 

    And when it comes to knocking down 3’s, Jordan was banging them at a 43% clip that year. Pippen was hitting 37% of his deep balls, Kukoc was at 40% and Jud Buechler wasn’t too shabby either at 44%. And how delightful would it be to see Warriors coach Steve Kerr pulling his hair out over Bulls shooting guard Steve Kerr, who was splashing at an otherworldly rate of 52% from deep?

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    And oh yeah, the Bulls had Michael Jordan, dammit!

    The 1987 Los Angeles Lakers

    The Warriors lack size and love to run and push the pace. That would doom them against Magic Johnson’s ’87 Lakers. I don’t care if Kareem was 157 years old, no one was stopping his skyhook in the paint. 

    Magic Johnson 1987 Finals: Gm 4 vs. Boston Celtics, “Skyhook Game”

    A 12-foot running hook shot by Earvin (Magic) Johnson with 2 seconds remaining tonight enabled the Los Angeles Lakers, trailing by 16 points in the third period, to edge the Boston Celtics, 107-106. The victory gave the Lakers a 3-1 lead in the four-of-seven-game series and a chance to dethrone the Celtics here Thursday night.

    And Magic running that Showtime break with James Worthy on the wing, with Michael Cooper and Byron Scott ready to knock down the three-ball, Golden State would have some problems while being truly edified on the dictionary definition of uptembo basketball at its finest. The Lakers had four starters in Magic, Kareem, Worthy and Scott who averaged 24, 18, 19 and 17 points respectively. 

    1987 NBA Finals Look Back: Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers

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    This was Magic’s first MVP season, and after beating the Celtics in the NBA Finals, he said, “There’s no question this is the best team I’ve played on. It’s fast, it can shoot and rebound, it has inside people, it has everything. I’ve never played on a team that had everything before.”

    KD and Steph would give the Lakers some work and it would be fun seeing Klay play against his pops, Mychal Thompson, but the ’87 Lakers would wear the Warriors out.

    The 1986 Boston Celtics

    Larry Bird’s Boston crew lost one game at home all year. ONE GAME!!! That includes the regular season and the playoffs combined, where they went 50-1. FITTY AND ONE!!!

    1986 Boston Celtics Tribute – The Beautiful Game

    http://Patreon.com/BookOfBasketball ’86 Boston Celtics play their version of ‘The Beautiful Game’. Edited by http://Colin-Stanton.com SUBSCRIBE Note: All footage from 1986 season. Music: ‘Life’ by Ludovico Einaudi Thumbnail illustration by Benoit Maindrault http://eightytwo.fr Special thanks to YouTube users ‘sheba021’ ‘Larry Legend’ ‘fatal9ish’ ”Nutspittle’ ‘LamarMatic’.

    No matter who’s guarding Bird, whether it’s KD or Draymond, they’re getting cooked. Same goes for Kevin McHale. With no true center in the middle for Golden State, Robert Parish would own the paint.  

    No team ever could boast of a better front line than the 86 Celtics. Bird, McHale and Parish combined for 63.2 points, 27.4 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game on 53.2 percent shooting. 

    And people often forget that point guard Dennis Johnson was one of the best perimeter defenders ever.

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    And let’s not forget that the Celtics and Lakers of that time played during the leagues golden era of talent. 

    ***

    No sports dynasty lasts forever. At some point in the near future, someone will put a halt to this historically great run that Golden State is in the midst of. But until they do, the only teams that could possibly beat KD, Steph, Draymond, Klay and this Warriors team are the 2001 Lakers, the 1996 Bulls, the 1987 Lakers and the 1986 Celtics.