LOS ANGELES — What started as a trickle of doubt has crossed into a daily theme of rudeness: The NBA thinks the Warriors were one-hit wonders who have little chance of repeating as champions.
In a vote of the league’s general managers conducted by NBA.com, only 18 percent believe the Warriors will claim the trophy again. No defending champ has had such low support since the website began its poll before the 2002-03 season.
The Warriors absorbed their latest dollop of disrespect before a 130-95 loss to their heated rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers, who have contributed to the dissing but didn’t have to play Tuesday night against the resting Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala. Blake Griffin scored 23 of his 29 points in the first half and Chris Paul added seven points and 10 assists before he was ejected in the third quarter with his second technical foul, for arguing with official Eric Lewis.
Klay Thompson scored a team-high 21 points for the Warriors after he missed the previous game for family reasons. Former Clipper Shaun Livingston scored 10 points.
The GMs think this is the season LeBron James finally takes Cleveland to the top, with the Cavaliers receiving 53.6 percent of the votes, beating out San Antonio (25 percent). By extension, they predict James will snatch the league’s Most Valuable Player award from Curry, with James getting 39.3 percent of the MVP votes to outpace New Orleans’ Anthony Davis (25 percent). Curry finished tied for fifth with Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook.
Davis, who will visit Oracle Arena with the New Orleans Pelicans for the Warriors’ home opener and ring ceremony next Tuesday night, got an astounding 86.2 percent of the votes as the player executives would want to build a franchise around now.
Leading the list of Warriors-dissers are Doc Rivers and the Clippers, who have chimed in the loudest. “You need luck in the West. Look at Golden State. They didn’t have to play us or the Spurs,” said Rivers, who claimed later that he didn’t mean the Warriors were lucky to win.
The Warriors took it as disrespect and fired back in kind, with Draymond Green and Thompson specifically chiding the Clippers for their annual underachievement in the postseason. Then Rivers fired back Monday, saying, “I’m surprised how sensitive they are about it. They are the champions, so they should just be the champions.”
The crossfire even has extended to one of the league’s all-time executives, Warriors consultant Jerry West, who told Huffington Post Live, “We led the league in offense and we led the league in defense. That really speaks more to what our team’s about than being lucky. The team that beat the Clippers was Houston, right? I guess we were lucky enough to beat them.” — Staff, wire reportsBlake GriffinGolden State WarriorsLos Angeles ClippersNBAStephen Curry