© Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Wait — I have to put on my White Sox hat before I Jock Blog.
Time for some Warriors Rage.
I kid, of course. Since when has a Jock Blog taken itself so seriously?
But it feels like the situation in WarriorsLand is worthy of some sort of emotion: Rage? Pessimism? Defiance? Surrender?
The worst home loss of the Steve Kerr Era shined a light on a team that is an appalling 16th in team defensive rating. The Boston Celtics ran amok on a Warriors team that left shooters open, got beat in transition, and failed to physically assert its will.
Worse, Kevin (Eazy E) Durant has now turned in his second super-salty press session in the calendar year. He followed last month’s “Grow Up!” performance with his not-so-subtle digs at Steve Kerr’s preaching of “joy” mixed with his desire for “anger.”
True, he caught Kerr between a semantic rock and hard place. But was there really the need to go there? Did it signal Durant’s fatigue with Warriors culture? When he told the media, “I mean, we’re a family . . . right?” — he didn’t exactly sound like a member of Sister Sledge.
You, the Warriors Fan, were right to feel something. The team is 3-5 in its last eight games. The Houston Rockets are surging. The Eastern Conference looks tough. There are all sorts of reasons to believe this difficult task of trying to become the first team since the Bill Russell Celtics to reach five consecutive NBA Finals has reached its tipping point.
But, then you realize:
It’s March. The Warriors were without Klay Thompson, Shaun Livingston, and Kevon Looney vs. Boston. They lost in Miami on a crazy fluke — and without DeMarcus Cousins. They lost in Orlando without Durant and Andre Iguodala.
They’re in first place in the Western Conference, and have a chance to head into the weekend with a two-game lead in the West after Denver visits Friday night.
Last year, they finished 7-11 down the stretch and won the NBA title.
And then you look at NBA history. The Russell Celtics who went to 10 consecutive NBA Finals? They featured regular season records like 57-22 (1961), 58-22 (1963), and 54-26 (1966). The third year of Michael Jordan’s first three-peat, the Bulls went 57-25 in the regular season.
The Warriors, at 44-20, are probably headed for a 57-25 season. Historically, they are right on target with other dynasties.
And then you look at their defensive woes, and wonder if only anyone knew where someone could pick up a snarling 7-footer who is willing to distribute hard fouls, intimidate underneath, and do so with an Australian accent.
Oh, hey, look who’s deplaning at SFO on the latest Qantas flight: Andrew Bogut! It’s Back to the Future with Bogs!
So, is the proper response to all this turbulence perhaps — long-view understanding? Reasoned patience and awareness that the NBA regular season means nothing to these champions?
Perhaps the Warriors’ road wins at Milwaukee, Boston, Denver, and Philadelphia are more indicative of what this team is. The Warriors are trying to do something no team in the NBA has done in a half-century, so perhaps we need to pull back, take the long view.
I know, I know. It’s way more fun to dial 808-KNBR and blow off some steam. Hey, that’s what we’re here for. We’re all ears. It’s more fun that way. Sometimes, you know, you just have to put on the White Sox hat and vent.