The Oklahoma City Thunder are one win away from eliminating the best team in NBA history based on regular season wins.
After delivering another beatdown last night, OKC now on the verge of returning to the NBA Finals, needing only to win one game out of 3 remaining matches. They have contained the Warriors’s deadly offense, forced turnovers, outrebounded Golden State and just flat out outplayed them during their two home games. They are now a win away from being able to chase the ultimate prize.
The Warriors have been complacent. Both Draymond Green and Stephen Curry have struggled mightily in this series. Curry hasn’t shot the ball well, and has been giving the ball away plenty. Green is not in his usual self, not as energetic and has been contained all over the court. The entire Warriors’ defense, their calling card, has not been visible outside of Game 2.
The Warriors are on the verge of missing out on one of the best seasons in all of sports. After breaking the record of having the most wins in a regulars season, and having the first ever unanimous MVP, Golden State is closing in on what could be a failure of year, just by not finishing and winning the year’s championship. What that means could simply be one thing…
In sports, the year is defined by winning the Championship. Records are made, performances have been highlighted, but the rest of the world will talk about the one who takes the crown. Always.
Take the case of the 2007 New England Patriots.
The Pats have ran sacked thru the 2007 NFL season, going undefeated, 16-0, a new league record. They reached SuperBowl 42 in 2008 going 18 – 0, including the two wins they had in the AFC Playoff picture. Everyone is talking about Patriot destiny, the perfect season, they even had the Pats as a 12 point favorite in the biggest game in American Sports.
And then came the New York Giants, the biggest SuperBowl underdog in history riding a hot streak. The Patriots, the dominant team that they were, didn’t play to to their dominant standards, and the Giants took advantage, and pulled off not only the biggest upset in SuperBowl history, but ending the Patriots’ perfect season in the process.
And while the 2007 Pats are still being considered one of the best American Football teams in history, no one is talking about their perfect 16-0 regular season, instead, when people hear SuperBowl XLII, they think of one thing.
Eli Manning’s pocket awareness, and this catch by David Tyree.
It goes to show, a magnificent regular season won’t matter if there’s no title. These Patriots are one of the best teams in history, a team you can debate, can beat any SuperBowl Champions in any era, and with one bad game, and and unbelievable play, they have, in a way, got brought to irrelevancy.
It’s not to say that the series is over. Eight NBA teams have come back to win a series from being down 3-1 in the Playoffs, two of them won the championship in the same year, so it’s plausible. But this is different. There is something different about this one, and it’s the magnitude of the pressure.
These Warriors have been talked about as quite possibly the greatest basketball team to ever stepped on a hardwood. There are talks of dynasty possibilities, and how they are close to being invincible due to their roster makeup, their style of basketball and their results. The 73-9 season made it even more of a possibility, and then you add the first ever player to be voted first place for MVP.
And they are one win from Oklahoma City away from having it all crumble down.
The pressure to succeed has far reached sky limits. This is what the Warriors have to deal with to save their historic season, or they get brought down to the pits of irrelevance along with the 2007 Pats. A great team, a once in a lifetime squad, ending as a “what if” topic because they couldn’t close the year with a Championship.
Is that going to be the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors’ destiny? Are they going to be the 2007 New England Patriots?
They need to get their stuff straight, or all this talk about them being the greatest, will be replaced by how great LeBron James was in the Finals, or how Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook final got their ring, or how the Toronto Raptors make history.