Alright, now that we’ve moved on from the fake outrage over Steve Kerr allowing his players to coach themselves in their victory against the Phoenix Suns Monday night, let’s take a breath and look into the future.
The Golden State Warriors will finish off their pre-All-Star break schedule against the Portland Trail Blazers. They’re neck-and-neck with the Houston Rockets for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
The final stretch of regular season games offer the Warriors a chance to once again fill their opponents with fear.
Yes, they’re 44-13, but we expect greatness from this team rolling out four All-Stars on a nightly basis.
Here are three things I’d love to see transpire after the All-Star break:
These days, it seems like the Warriors enjoy going into the second quarter trailing. In January, they gave up a whopping 113.9 points a game and established a dubious 13-game streak of allowing at least 100 points — surely costing defensive wizard Ron Adams sleep.
Before their romp over the hapless Suns, their defensive efficiency rating in 2018 was an eye-popping 108.3 — 20th in the NBA.
Per Anthony Slater of The Athletic, the starting lineup was minus-36. The start-of-the-second lineup of Shaun Livingston, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green and David West has had to clean up the mess, producing at a plus-35 clip.
Maybe I’m spoiled, but when Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Green and Thompson are in your starting lineups, there’s no excuse for the Warriors to start so slow.
Omri Casspi hit his first 3-pointer since Dec. 14 on Monday night. That is astonishing when you really think about it. He’s 6-foot-9 and provides the Warriors with tons of flexibility, but a back injury knocked him out of the rotation and essentially killed his rhythm.
Watching him come through with a double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds) against Phoenix will hopefully spur him back to the level he played before the injury.
As for Patrick McCaw, he’s currently dealing with a right wrist sprain, but his self-imposed demotion to the G-League may have turned his season around. Saying the second-year player had been in a funk would be an understatement.
He was assertive against the Suns and looked like the player we’ve seen dominate the NBA Summer League. McCaw raised the expectations with some big moments in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, so to see him slump, alongside Casspi, on this loaded roster, really has been befuddling. Those two making a difference down the stretch would do wonders.
I’m not worried about Andre Iguodala and his 23-percent shooting from beyond the 3-point line. He’ll be fine in the postseason. Health, health and more good health is what really matters.
Just getting to the postseason unscathed for a fourth-straight shot at the Finals is more important than claiming the top-seed in the Western Conference. If the Warriors are locked, loaded and injury-free come playoff time, get ready for another championship parade.
Injuries are the only thing that can derail the Warriors from going back-to-back. So trainer Chelsea Lane and Kerr’s rotations will play a huge role as we watch the regular season come to an end.
Bonta Hill of 95.7 The Game can be heard from 12-3 on the Greg Papa Show. Born and bred in San Francisco, he is a sports junkie who loves to sit in the lab (home), eats breakfast food for dinner, and has a newfound love for tequila. Follow at your own risk on Twitter @BontaHill.
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