Image Credit: Keith Allison
They’re the dynasty of the last decade in the NBA. The Golden State Warriors have swept all-comers, blitzing past the Portland Trailblazers 4-0 in their Conference Final series. The Warriors are gunning for their fourth World Title in five years under successful coach Steve Kerr. With an all-star team consisting of perhaps the greatest three-point shooter ever seen in Stephen Curry, alongside Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodola, DeMarcus Cousins and Keven Looney, the Warriors boast a line-up that ranks up near the best ever. Their star – Curry – has a bunch of teammates that are more than up to the task. They make his prowess more evident, as he can go about his game without worrying about covering hard defensively or scoring all the points.
Now in the 2019 NBA Finals series against the impressive Toronto Raptors, who have a very impressive roster, injuries have finally caught up with them.
Without Thompson, Durant and Looney for game three of the series in Oakland, Curry’s exploits were varied in a 14-point loss to the Raptors. Unlike Lebron, who has arguably had to carry the attacking and defensive loads for certain stages of his career, Curry has always had a studded line up behind him. But with some of his best teammates out, he rose to the occasion offensively, yet didn’t hold up defensively.
We have seen Curry perform some amazing solo games with plenty of buckets and a plethora of three-pointers at a high-shooting efficiency. But what made his offensive effort special in this match (47 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists) was the fact the next highest points scorer for the Warriors was Green with 17. It’s fair to say Curry carried the attacking side of Golden State’s display. But Curry was also forced to work more defensively, with mixed impact. Rarely defending his opposing player Kyle Lowry, the Raptor guard shot 23 points. Toronto ran riot offensively, having six players score over ten points and out-scoring the Warriors in every quarter.
Toronto star Kawhi Leonard put up 30 points alongside his 7 rebounds and 6 assists, while Danny Green scored 18 points that included a hot streak of three-pointers in the third quarter to repel Golden State’s attempted comeback. The Warriors were poor defensively and Curry was definitely one to blame. With years of relying on other defensive players to pick up the slack, Curry was exposed much like the rest of his Warrior teammates who had no answers for Leonard, Lowry and the Raptors.
What this suggests is that the Warriors desperately need players to return from injury.
Thompson only strained his hamstring and will hopefully be back soon. He can provide defensive insurance and plenty of points. But if Curry and the Warriors continue to be exposed defensively by Toronto in the coming games of the NBA Finals series, their dynasty and superb record may be tarnished by the lack of grunt they display when they don’t have a list full of NBA All-Stars.