Just four more games to play before the playoffs start and the Golden State Warriors can start their real season. So far this year, the team has vacillated between bored/disinterested and downright dominant, but at all times their eyes and hearts have been pointed towards the playoffs. They’re almost there. In just about a week from today they’ll be playing their first playoff game of the 2017-18 season.
But first, they’ve got to play out these last four games prior to the end of the regular season.
WHO: Warriors at Pacers
WHEN: Thursday, April 5; 4:00 p.m.
WHERE: Bankers Life Fieldhouse; Indianapolis, IN
LISTEN: 95.7 The Game
Forged in fire
This has been a tough, tough year for the Warriors (and their fans). After a shaky start to the season, the Warriors were just starting to stabilize - they’d reclaimed their rightful place atop the NBA rankings... and then the injuries hit.
Steph Curry went down, then it was Draymond Green, then Steph Curry again, then Kevin Durant...then Curry (again). For a team that seemed to be missing a challenge, this was probably not at all what they would have chosen for their path - and yet maybe it’s for the best?
Playing without six players against the Oklahoma City Thunder in our last game, coach Steve Kerr was pretty much forced into playing seldom-used young Center Damian Jones. And the kid was a revelation. Over his first two seasons, he had appeared in just 21 of a possible 164 regular-season games, but in his 14 minutes against the Thunder he scored a career-high eight points, to go along with a couple of rebounds and a blocked shot - by far the best game of his young career.
Similarly, Quinn Cook had languished in the G League, mostly unused until Kerr needed to call him up out of necessity. And to add to the chuckles, it got even worse (or better depending on your perspective) as Shaun Livingston, Patrick McCaw, and Andre Iguodala all joined Steph Curry on the injured list - propelling Cook into a larger and larger role.
While we still aren’t nearly healthy (Iguodala, Curry, McCaw, Casspi are out; Kevon Looney is listed as “questionable”) the hard truth is that this season was the most difficult of any in the Steve Kerr era. But that hard truth has rubbed the soft edges off of this roster, and we are rediscovering that having three All Stars and an extremely solid supporting cast should be plenty.
The Pacers are actually pretty good!
If you’re like me, the Indiana Pacers may just be one of those teams that has sort of escaped your notice all season. But these guys can play! In our last meeting, they defeated the Warriors, 92-81 - BUT - it was one of the games we played without all four All Stars. Victor Oladipo killed us back then... something tells me Durant and Green may have a little something to say about that this time around.
Oladipo is currently the only player in the NBA this season who is averaging more than 20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals per game; oh, and he’s leading the NBA in steals.
The fifth-place Pacers are two games back of both Cleveland and Philadelphia in the East standings with four games to play and are eager to lock into the the highest seed possible for the quickly approaching playoffs.
The Warriors don’t really have anything but pride and practice to fight for now, but hopefully that’s enough to knock out another win tonight.