,Sunday Nights matchup coming off a back to back with the Clippers, we got our first chance to see this years iteration of the Warriors without Steph a the helm. Shaun Livingston got the start and the dynamics of this team changed instantly. After jumping out to a customary warriors 20 point lead before going absolutely stagnant in the second quarter and giving up a 18-2 run, taking lots of iso play 3's that ended with misses. The offense stopped moving, and while there defense stayed in the game so the bleeding wasn't worse than it could have been, it was clear there was no spark plug to get the team back on track. This game proved every single Steph hater wrong, those who called him a system player, were shown his greatness and the affect he has on a team. At the end of the game KD and Klay knocked down some clutch FT's but still only won because Evan Turner blew a wide open 3 that would have won the game.
As we look forward to the Hornets on Wednesday, the Warriors are on a stretch of 4 games in 11 days, which will be a great way for this team to get some much deserved rest going into the all star game. Already established as the best team in the west, the name of the game for this team is health. I try not to think in shoulda woulda coulda mentalities but its hard not to think about how differently things could have gone in last years finals had Steph not suffered that first round injury. Limiting star players minutes also gives opportunities to get better to players like Pat McCaw, Kevon Looney, and in the future when he's fully healthy, Damien Jones. Out of those three, one (probably McCaw) could play important playoff minutes, and the more time they spend on the court the more comfortable they will be at NBA pace. Also, the more minutes we can get for Javale with the first Unit the better. A sense of timing develops that makes those alley oops more succinct, and he can be a huge rim protector on the defensive side of the ball when we have to face taller opponents (Spurs, Clippers). The 2017 NBA championship is the Warriors to lose.
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