SINCE the start of the 2014-15 season the Warriors have played 375 games of basketball. That is a helluva lot of games in a three and a half year stretch with that number expected to push 400 by the time this year’s playoffs are done. With so many miles on their bodies already a recent slew of injuries for the Golden State Warriors have them looking a way we aren’t accustomed to seeing them. Vulnerable.
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IT’S no great revelation to assume that the Warriors are tired after qualifying for three straight NBA Finals. Some may say that the Cavaliers have gone through the same thing, which is true after playing 373 games to date over the same stretch of time as Golden State. You have to remember though that the Western Conference has been far superior during that time, making not only the playoffs harder for the Warriors, but the regular season too.
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SO these tired Warriors are gearing up to pursue their third title in four seasons and at the beginning of the year, barring anything crazy, everyone expected them to repeat as champs. As it stands right now Steph Curry (ankle), Klay Thomspon (thumb), Kevin Durant (rib fracture), Omri Casspi (ankle) and Patrick McCaw (wrist) are all on the sidelines with injuries. These ailments aren’t just a day-to-day thing either with all five players expected to miss at least a week at minimum.
THE injury that is the most concerning is Steph Curry’s, as once again the dual MVP is dealing with an ankle worry. We all know about the history of Curry’s glass ankles before his successful run, a history that saw Curry miss 48 of a possible 148 games over two seasons in the early part of the decade. Four times already in this year Golden State’s star has had an ankle issue that has lead to him missing 19 games with no timetable yet set for his return to the court.
SINCE Curry went down against the Spurs on March 10th the injuries have flowed for Golden State. Earlier this week Klay Thompson was ruled out for two weeks with a thumb injury and last night both Kevin Durant and Omri Casspi went down with injuries, making the Warriors extremely thin on wing guys. Having arguably your best player on the sidelines isn’t great, but when he is joined by the likes of Durant and Thompson that’s when the alarm bells should start ringing.
LUCKILY for Dub Nation, the work that they have put in over the rest of their 69 games has them sitting in a comfortable position. As pandemonium ensues below in the standings their 9.5 game cushion over the red-hot 3rd seeded Portland Trailblazers is worth its weight in gold. It’s extremely unlikely, even if they lose a batch of games down the stretch that they surrender their top-2 seeding.
HOWEVER. Their upcoming schedule isn’t very accommodating. They do play the miserable Phoenix Suns three times before their regular season concludes, but they also face eight current playoff teams in their final 13 games. That includes visits to Oklahoma City, Indiana, San Antonio and Utah who will all be out for blood as they try to improve their place in the standings over the final three weeks. If the Warriors limp to the finish line and set up a first-round date with a dangerous opponent like Westbrook’s Thunder or the Anthony Davis led Pelicans a few eyebrows will certainly be raised.
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AS concerning as all these recent injuries are, we are all assuming Golden State will transform back into the death machine we all fear at the right time of the year. Until we see otherwise we should expect to see them enter the postseason fully healthy giving their guys the necessary time to be ready for the postseason. They’ve learnt from their mistakes in 2015-16 when they chased 73 wins and it might have cost them against the Cavaliers.
THAT being said these recent injuries leave them exposed to a potential upset come playoff time. Houston and consensus MVP James Harden are likely to finish with the best record in the league and as I said before the other Western Conference playoff teams aren’t easy beats. We are all readying ourselves for the Cavs vs. Warriors round IV, but for the first time in a long time, it isn’t a certainty.
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