Finally healthy, the Warriors were dominated at home by Andrew Wiggins, Karl Anthony-Towns and Shabazz Muhammad. Now onto the meat.
There has been enough writing in the past few months to fill up several encyclopedias about the Warriors' chase for the greatest regular-season record of all time and what it truly means. Older players, current players, media from the 70's, present-day media, Twitter, everyone has an opinion. When Stephen Curry took offense and snapped a couple weeks ago at a lazy boring Oscar Robertson, it caught me by surprise. And as the Golden State Warriors struggle to the finish line, like those Chicago Bulls of the 72-win fame, it's catching everyone else off guard.
After the game, a rare unhappy Steve Kerr (at least to the media) snapped on several questions and replied with a one-word answer to the question of fatigue, "No".
Draymond Green admitted that the team gets bored especially with this many games and the regular season winding down. It isn't an excuse, he admitted, but was an honest assessment of the team's play as "not very good" right now.
Andre Iguodala, positioned in a corner of a hallway, talked about the meaninglessness of a historic regular season. He referenced the New England Patriots as a team that went undefeated and now barely anyone talks about that team in a positive light.
Then to swing the pendulum back the other way, Stephen Curry relishes this kind of loss, positioning tomorrow as a new day for the Warriors to go out and prove themselves again. He even described the locker room as one that was more upbeat than downtrodden; players nodding and dapping each other up instead of any moping and whining.
So now the weight of 73 wins swells, balloons, and threatens to cascade itself across the shoulders of a team that's been compared to the greatest of all time. There are players and coaches with differing views on the matter but all can agree: they are simply not playing well right now.
Statistics have shown that perceived momentum is misleading heading to the postseason. So the question becomes as it appears the Warriors limp, despite full health, towards the playoffs: does the pressure of all of this even matter in the big picture?
The switch is ostensibly there, flipped up and down seemingly at their leisure. But most are questioning whether the team is tired, run down, and perhaps mentally ready for all of this to subside. We can all recall those Miami Heat sitting in their locker room after their fourth straight Finals appearance and drinking in the serenity and finality. These Warriors are nowhere near that type of stress and relief but there appears a certain amount of pressure that pushes and wears on the greatest of teams.
Under the bright lights, the Warriors have responded their best. Under the most scrutiny, Curry, Green, and the rest of the team have performed at their peak. As teams come into Oracle Arena and vice versa, the Warriors are facing every opponents' A-plus effort. The Timberwolves actually made 3s and played defense tonight, two total departures from their normal awful selves. But these are what the Warriors bring out in opponents and in themselves, creating a higher standard of play even the greatest of human beings are unable to sustain on a game-by-game basis.
And as they reach the end, bored or not, worn down or not, they're starting to find themselves slipping against the never-ending assault of games. Like an elephants against an unrelenting army of ants, the Golden State Warriors are slowly getting chopped down. Fortunately for them, there's only four games in the regular season left before it all truly starts to count.
As Green said in the postgame presser, there are three stages to a basketball season: the start of the season to All-Star Break, including the dog days before the All-star Break, the few weeks after the ASB with a second wind and now at the end where a team gets bored. How about the postseason? Well, that's where the adrenaline starts to pump back in and where the Golden State Warriors can press go again.
When that times comes, will the weight of 73 really matter?