Think there’s a chance they’ll go 73-9? Think anyone can beat them? It’s humanly impossible to win every single game, but at this rate, it should surprise no one if the Warriors finish the season with single-digit losses and with damn near 80 victories. For one night, against their blood rivals who have deep-seated animosity toward them, Golden State erased a 23-point deficit and made a statement with a 124-117 victory over the more lackadaisical Clippers to become the 5th team in NBA history to start a season 13-0.
The raucous crowd of 19,596 at Staples Center — a sellout to create a fervid playoff atmosphere — was certainly awed by the Warriors, who shot 73 percent in the fourth quarter, including 8 of 9 from beyond three-point land, and went on a 22-5 run that left the Hollywood spectators and celebrities gobsmacked late Thursday night. This is the best, and maybe the only real rivalry in the NBA today — and there’s more bad blood percolating between the Clippers and Warriors right now, which makes this juicy matchup captivating while basketball fans look on and marvel. Expectations are so high for the Warriors they can only go up. Finishing the rest of the calendar year unbeaten is so realistic, some people actually are convinced no one will beat them in 2015.
Given their light schedule in the month of December and their wondrous hot streak of 13 wins in a row, few have doubted Golden State. Their performance early on wasn’t very good at all, during which the Warriors salvaged a perfect season by overcoming a tawdry showing after committing 19 turnovers and allowing Chris Paul to beat them in every facet of the game early while Stephen Curry revealed to the world that he’s only human. The night was by far the worse we’ve seen him in the first half of any game this season, and though he played flustered and seemed shaky, he amazingly took a turn for the better and dazzled us with another great show on the hardwood floor. It’s not far too early to say whether they’ll win back to back, and perhaps it’s not foolish to suggest that they can finish the rest of the calendar year 31-0, as well as win 73 games, if not 74, if not 75.
73-9? Or 74-8? Or 75-7?
Anything seems plausible at this point for the Warriors, who feature an influx of scoring talent around arguably the best pure shooter the NBA has ever seen, each of whom can light it up from three-point range. All told, Curry continues to absolutely amaze us with his theatrics and spectacular showings to leave everyone oozing with cheers. No matter where he plays, fans are greatly entertained, oohing and ahhing over the league’s most electrifying team that everybody truly appreciates. The Warriors, collectively, have only gotten better, scarier and tougher, and from what we’ve seen — Curry and company are no match for anyone in the league. Curry is a more efficient shooter, understands what his strengths and weaknesses are, and rarely does he has an off-night — never does he really miss shots and continues to dazzle in dramatic fashion with his fake drives and step-back threes.
It’s hard to imagine a deep, fun Warriors team losing anything to anyone. The fuss has been all about them this season, and about Curry, who is on a roll. The more I think about it, the more he’s morphed into the league’s undisputed best player, surpassing LeBron James for the most popular jersey in the NBA. If you’ve watched this season, it appears Curry is not only the game’s most appreciated superstar, but also the world’s best player. And when it comes to popularity Curry is that man, feeling more and more like a teen sensation who everybody goes crazy for every time he’s on the hardwood. The basketball world treasures Curry and he gives the fans what they want. This is the guy who makes everything happen, and fans are fascinated by him, gushing endlessly over his big shots, plus over him dangling around his saliva-soaked mouthguard.
This is a Warriors team that keeps giving, thanks to Curry, the pesky, in-your-face forward Andre Iguodala, who hit some clutch shots down the stretch, and Harrison Barnes, who led the way for the Warriors while Curry struggled in the fourth quarter, and Klay Thompson, who netted a three that mounted a furious comeback. As much as people adore Curry, he wasn’t nearly as flawless in the fourth quarter, and couldn’t stop throwing the ball away. It was easy to forget the number of turnovers he committed because of his poor ball handling and clumsiness after firing up a three with 1:47 left, followed by four free throws in the final 40 seconds.
If there’s one thing we can say about the Warriors at this point in this season, it’s that they are basketball’s nicest story, as you can bet there’s far more love to go around for a group of guys who have made the game fun. Of course, everybody wants to beat the Warriors, who haven’t lost since June, with a chance now to reach the mark for NBA’s best regular-season record by early April.
That’s right, that’s right. The scary thing about Golden State is that it is more determined than ever to win back-to-back titles. The frightful thing about Curry and his army is that they simply forgot how to lose at Oracle Arena and even on the road. There’s a competitive nature and a bravado everybody loves about these Warriors, especially because they are led by the world’s greatest ballplayer America admires, I dare say, after putting on a show a year ago to surprise the folks in a nation who didn’t want to believe it was genuine.
Most people are finding it difficult to fault and criticize the mouthy Clippers for performing the choke job at home against the Warriors. If this has taught us anything about the Clippers, who have fought and took shots at the Warriors in recent years, it’s that L.A. is not even close to matching the physicality and intensity of the defending champions. This is the fact that remains true about the Clippers. About the only thing Blake Griffin did, while leading the Clippers to a nice 50-27 lead early in the second quarter, was score early with his fallaway jumpers, prior to finishing 0 for 3 in the fourth quarter.
It was an ugly collapse for the Clippers, but a spectacular comeback for the Warriors. As everybody knows all too well, unlike the Clippers, the Warriors back up their trash talk with statement victories, thanks to their resilience, miraculous comebacks, three-point shooting performances, excellent teamwork, determination, hunger, smart basketball, late-game defensive stops and fourth-quarter finishes.
This gives us the best description.
The reality is that they will eventually lose a game, but maybe not for a very long time. It’s pretty likely that every team scheduled to face Steph Curry and the Warriors will feel the same way.