It may have just been a preseason game, but if Golden State’s 142-110 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Shanghai is anything to go by, the Warriors look to be a shoe-in to secure back-to-back NBA championships.
The Warriors put together a scoring exhibition behind a solid 22 points from Kevin Durant and 28 from Klay Thompson. Leading the charge, however, was star point guard Steph Curry who poured in 40 points in three quarters, scoring in every way imaginable. He was at his dazzling best, exciting the Shanghai crowd play after play and putting on a shot-making clinic. In the third quarter alone, Curry scored 19 points and produced several highlights-reel plays, including four three-pointers, a reverse lay-up and a floater.
When Curry is playing at this elite level, Golden State are almost unstoppable. In the last two years, (including playoffs) when the two-time MVP scores 40 points or more the Warriors are 19-1. When Curry gets into his zone, he is the hardest player in the league to defend. Distance doesn’t affect him. A hand in his face doesn’t affect him. Double teams don’t affect him. As a defender, you are essentially helpless. All you can really do is stay disciplined, contest his shot and hope for a miss. Even if he has an off day or as a defensive unit you somehow shut him down, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are just as capable of heating up and doing the same damage.
Stephen Curry's 40 Points in Shanghai
It’s not just the amount of points the Warriors can score either; it’s how quickly they can score them.
At the 8:39 minute mark of the third quarter the Warriors held an 86-82 lead in a tightly contested match. Two minutes later they led 100-84, and the game was all but over. During those two minutes, Curry splashed in three three-pointers, Thompson added another, and Durant sank a pair of three throws; the Timberwolves didn’t know what hit them.
We’ve seen it time and time again over the past couple of years. The Dubs can win a game and crush your spirit by playing two minutes of perfect basketball and there isn’t a team in the league that can stay on top of them for a full 48 minutes.
Same old Warriors
The scariest thing about this performance is that Golden State can get better. While 22 points from Durant is solid, it is well below what the reigning NBA Finals MVP is capable of producing. The same goes for Draymond Green’s 11 points. Omri Casspi and Shaun Livingston only scored four points and one point respectively while sharpshooter Nick Young didn’t see the court. This team goes about ten players deep and anyone on any night can step up and play a game-winning role.
This offseason, teams have made video game-type acquisitions to build a roster that can compete with the Oakland side. Houston brought in Chris Paul. Boston brought in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Oklahoma City brought in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Cleveland have completely overhauled their team and brought in Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder. We’re seeing teams recognize that it will take something special to beat this Warriors outfit.
While their efforts are admirable, none of them yet have the combination of talent, team balance and chemistry to challenge the Warriors. And that's why for the third time in four years the Larry O’Brien trophy will head to the Bay Area.
Too early to predict another NBA Championship for the Golden State Warriors? Comment below!
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?