Since Steve Kerr took over as head coach in the 2014-2015 season, the Golden State Warriors have played in 18 playoff series. They have been the victor 17 times, with their one failure a blown 3-1 lead in the Finals.
If winning championships is how we define greatness, then surely the Warriors have proven they are beyond reproach and deserve the benefit of the doubt.
And yet, there they were yesterday, getting accused by the Houston Rockets and the hordes of haters as being mentally fragile, front-running cheaters who survive on injury luck.
Dear friends, I don’t want you to be swayed into anxiety and confusion anymore by this conflagration of lies and jealousy. Let’s go through these preposterous myths together, and break down why you should reconsider doubting these Warriors.
The Warriors never have injuries that affect their postseasons
Remember when the injury saddled Dubs fell to the San Antonio Spurs in 6 games in 2013? David Lee (our All-NBA power forward) hobbling with a bad hip? Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes couldn’t even finish out the series? Steph Curry with the sore ankles?
Or when Steph Curry nearly blew his knee out in the 2016 playoffs and played only 38 minutes against the Houston Rockets in the first round?
Or the 2018 playoffs when Curry missed the entire first round? Or the 2018 Western Conference Finals where Finals MVP Andre Iguodala missed the last four games of the series?
Yeah, nobody cares. Yet, when the other teams have physical misfortune fall on them before they get rolled by the Dubs, they whine about how lucky Golden State is.
Not playing any starting PGs in 15.— nick wright (@getnickwright) May 28, 2018
Kawhi in 17.
CP3 in 18.
All while not having any of their All Stars miss any WCF/Finals due to injury
I mean, it even got stretched out to the point that the Warriors were lucky not to have to face role players like Jrue Holiday and Jusuf Nurkic in the playoffs. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
So when DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Durant — two 7-foot monsters — sacrificed their bodies and limped out of action during this postseason, it seemed to the jealous horde that finally Golden State’s veneer of “injury luck” had evaporated.
"If the Rockets beat the Warriors, it's fair and square. If the Rockets beat them, there are no 'Oh but KD wasn't out there excuses.' You start doing that math, then there's no clean championship of the 3 for Golden State." — @getnickwright pic.twitter.com/eHJRf6HnJi— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) May 10, 2019
Lol. Nick Wright was on national television preemptively arguing that the Rockets beating a severely depleted Warriors team was completely justified. The temerity. He had no idea what was about to happen to Houston’s franchise at the hands of the Durant/Cousins/Damian Jones-less Warriors.
Rockets in 2018 said if they had Chris Paul, they would have won the #NBA Championship. 2019 You have Chris Paul healthy & as a bonus no Kevin Durant. You still lost. Bottom line you had everything in your favor including Steph “broken finger” Curry. You still couldn’t do. #GSW pic.twitter.com/20Av4RNcgJ— MasonVeraPaineShow (@MasonVeraPaine) May 11, 2019
The Warriors will fall to Houston because the Clippers series took too long
After the Warriors had to work hard to dispatch the Clippers in six games during the first round, eeverrrryyybooodddy was talking about how the lack of rest would doom them. I mean, there must have been 4000 comments on GSoM alone bemoaning the unrested Warriors facing the well-rested Rockets.
Do they know that the All-Stars on this team are all 30-years old and under? For reference, Michael Jordan was 28 when he won his FIRST NBA title. Additionally, remember how folks kept bemoaning how uninspired and lethargic the Dubs looked during the regular season? Perhaps the champs were saving their energy for THE PLAYOFFS.
Meanwhile, during the regular season the try-hard Rockets forced the second highest usage rate in NBA history on James Harden. Insane.
The Warriors won’t beat Houston without KD because they have no bench
This isn't the same #Warriors team that won 73 games, not even close. That team was 11 deep, Steph was better, this team is older with no depth. This should be a scrimmage before Sunday's game 7.— Landry Locker (@LandryLocker) May 10, 2019
So the Warriors that won 73 games were “11 deep”, eh?
Per Anthony Slater of the Athletic after the Warriors erased Houston’s season:
Maybe the greatest “Strength in Numbers” game in the entire Kerr era, a dream night in which he called the number of 11 guys and all 11 delivered in some type of meaningful way, on the road, to close out their biggest conference challenger.
“Houston puts the fear of God in you,” Kerr, halfway through a postgame Corona, told The Athletic. “So we played it very close to the vest the first five games, just allowing our best defenders to be out there the whole time, thinking we got to do this. Then look, we’re forced to play the bench and they’re fantastic. And I’m like: ‘Well, what the (expletive)? What was I thinking? I should’ve played them earlier.’ But I’m just proud of them.”
Wow whaddya know, in the biggest game of the season the Warriors went ELEVEN DEEP. Not at home in the friendly confines of Oracle Arena either, but right there in the heart of Houston.
Quinn Cook folded Austin Rivers up like a pair of jeans pic.twitter.com/GyGGhBrOCH— Gilbert Arenas (@GilbertAgent0) May 11, 2019
Clint Capela ASKED for the Warriors. He WANTED this. Man got outplayed by… *squints* Kevon Looney— negro sunshine (@intrepid_heroin) May 11, 2019
Kevin Durant went down and the Woulda Coulda Ass Rockets couldn’t even get a game against Kevon Looney and Jonas Jerebko. Be quiet. Forever.— Myles Brown (@mdotbrown) May 11, 2019
Livingston had the Dubs bench hypepic.twitter.com/OUvrYeWgxh— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) May 11, 2019
(Also, it wasn’t like the Rockets were exactly maximizing their depth, but no one wanted to talk about that.) The Warriors had two double-digit scorers off of the pine as well: Kevon Looney (14) and Shaun Livingston (11).
Houston beat the Warriors 3-1 in the regular season, which means Houston’s better
First of all, let me congratulate Houston. They spent all year openly calling out the Warriors. #RunItBack. They also won three out of four regular season games against a bored, half-speed, defending champion. I just want you to contemplate how those wins were completely irrelevant when the postseason started.
Here’s regular season James Harden vs the Warriors:
And here’s playoffs James Harden vs. the dynasty:
James Harden had one of the worst inbound passes ever considering the moment. pic.twitter.com/qUvxUHnEFB— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) May 11, 2019
THE ROCKETS ARE HUNGRY
I don’t ever want to hear this again. If hunger alone was enough to win titles, Charles Barkley would have 9 rings. Are Harden and Paul hungrier than Karl Malone and John Stockton were?
Much like Chris Paul’s body, that narrative is worn out and tired as hell. Hell, even I wrote a deep-dive on the legacy of Houston’s backcourt hinging on whether or not they could overcome the Splash Bros... LAST YEAR.
The Rockets are a really strong team, and maybe if the Dubs had lost another starter Houston could have stolen Game 6 at home. Unfortunately for them, much like the Jordan-era Knicks and Jazz, they just aren’t good enough to stop a dynasty. No shame in that.
But there is defeat in that, for sure. Good night, Houston.