In the 13 days since Kevin Durant got hurt, the Golden State Warriors have been a woeful 2-5. Coach Steve Kerr, in a fairly obvious statement move, sat all of our top players on Saturday. In leaving the Warriors bench to fend for themselves against our leading conference rivals, Golden State was pointedly stepping back from their furious pursuit of the #1 seed. It’s still a goal that we are chasing, but not if it means running our players ragged in the final months of the season.
This was supposedly the lesson we learned last post-season. That’s why I am trying to trust the process over these last 16 games of the season, and you should too.
Speaking of process, the 76ers are the team that coined the phrase, and it now looks like maybe the process is beginning to pay dividends. Joel Embiid has adopted the moniker and — if he can get healthy — seems poised to lead the 76ers out of bottom of the standings in the East. For now? At 24-42 they are most assuredly entrenched down there. Which is fine, because that just means better draft picks. The process, you see?
In Embiid’s absence watch for Dario Saric and Jahil Okafor to lead the way for the 76ers. While athletic and rangy, it’s mostly their lack of consistency that holds them back. As much as their fans may be praying for the team to tank, the Warriors will need to respect them in order to avoid a “historic” four-game slide.
There’s not a ton of analysis to do for the game. The Warriors have been off, in every sense of the word. Rotations are bad on defense, the offense stutters to generate good looks and shots that would normally drop just aren’t falling. Anyone who has been watching Warriors basketball over the past few years recognizes this. It’s obvious that the team is struggling without Durant, and we need our stars to emerge and lead us out of the darkness.
They’re now rested, have a practice under their belt and are facing one of the worst teams in the league. Oh, and it’s Stephen Curry’s birthday!
For the first time in a while, it seems like the Warriors have a LOT going on
First and foremost, the San Antonio Spurs completed the exchange we began on Saturday and now hold the #1 seed in the West after they defeated the Hawks on Monday. With 16 games to go, including a remaining head-to-head matchup, the top seed is still well within the Warriors’ reach.
The return of Durant would help a lot. Thankfully, now that the team is back home, we will get more frequent sightings — even if the progress reports are vague.
Here’s Kerr confirming that Durant is “feeling pretty good.”
Note that KD was not wearing a knee brace and was riding the exercise bike, but still walked with a noticeable limp. Kerr says “he’s progressing.”
I have never felt so white
Andre Iguodala got fined $10k for an oddly charged racial tirade prior to the Spurs game. I can’t even pretend to understand the complexity of what goes on in Andre’s head when he talks about basketball -- once he ventures into the difficult world of modern race relations, I am immediately out of my element.
For what it’s worth though, he came out and unequivocally said he didn’t mean anything against Kerr and definitely not his teammates.
I mean... I heard a lot of words come out of his mouth, but I am completely at a loss as to how big of a deal any of this is. For now, I’m just latching on to Iguodala saying “he [Kerr] and I are in a great place. He knows in no way shape or form those comments were about him.”
Now it’s back to work after a three day weekend.
What: Philadelphia 76ers @ Golden State Warriors
When: 7:30 pm PST
How to watch: CSN
(or you can get free tickets like me, thanks Phil!)
Blog buddy: Liberty Ballers
Here are some statistics that reinforce the fact that this is a game the Warriors should win.