Dubs Lead

Dubs in Prime Position Following All-Star Break

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Despite all the drama the Golden State Warriors have created for themselves this season, they find themselves at a familiar place– on top of the Western Conference at the all-star break.

A tough loss to the Houston Rockets on January 3rd dropped their record to 25-14, not exactly where they wanted to be at the time. They didn’t look too concerned back then, however, as they went on to win 16 of 18, surging back to the top (41-16). Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have looked great in 2019. Although Dray didn’t make the cut, The Bay’s other three all-stars went to Charlotte quite relaxed with varying degrees of commitments for the weekend.

Team Curry

Stephen Curry was almost a co-host of the All-Star game along with Michael Jordan and Kemba Walker. The Curry’s are from Charlotte and Dell Curry calls Hornets games on TV. Both Steph and Seth took part in the three-point shootout and the family had many events scheduled around the weekend. Steph earned this break with a near-MVP season so far. His shot has been a little off lately, especially early in games. He will look to rebound stronger than ever following the break. He had a good time both on and off the court in his hometown. Even mama Curry had her moment in the sun:

 

Kevin Durant had to face his usual quota of free agency and Knicks questions, but he seemed to handle it much better than last week’s outburst against the local Bay Area media. KD has been the source of most of the Warriors’ distractions this season. However, this is a veteran team with championship experience and they seem pretty unperturbed by any of it. They are undoubtedly focused on winning another ring this season. Outside of the November Draymond-KD blowup, they have done a decent job of tuning out the noise.

Rumors that KD will leave Golden State for New York continue to swirl. It actually sounds like a foregone conclusion in some circles– though KD himself has not revealed any hints. The Warriors have all but consigned this topic to the summer regardless of what the fans and the media want. The team will more than likely be even more focused on what’s happening on the court once play is resumed. As for his play, KD is quietly having one of his best seasons ever– and that’s all the Dubs care about at this point.

Klay’s Shenanigans

Then, there’s Klay. After slumping through most of the 2018 part of the season, his shooting touch is back. His struggles seem to be behind him like a pony tail and his three-point percentage has crept all the way back up to almost 40%. Klay shot in low-to-mid 30s through December. He has been averaging close to 50% from distance in 2019. We are seeing a real regression towards the mean with Klay. Things are back to normal in Klay’s world since the calendar flipped to 2019.

He enjoyed his all-star break in his own inimitable style to nobody’s surprise. You can see him going down a slide, making you wonder what’s more Klay — him on that slide or him celebrating with a fist pump after winning an NBA championship.

https://twitter.com/NBCSAuthentic/status/1096561057030725632

25 games to go

With the break soon-to-be behind them, the Warriors will try to get in rhythm for the stretch run. This is arguably the best they have looked since the 73-9 season in 2016. They will be heavy favorites to win it all, but they still have work to do. Their contender from the East — if they get back to the Finals — will be their toughest challenger yet during this run.

Regardless of who wins the East, they will be better than the Cavs’ team they faced the last two years. Also, the Dubs are currently trailing both the Bucks and the Raptors for home court, though that is not exactly a “must have” for these Warriors. (see last year in Houston). It will still be a good idea for them to chase that rest of this season. Some of those hostile Eastern environments are not easy to play in.

The DeMarcus Cousins addition has been mostly successful so far. Improving his pick-and-roll defense will be a priority for the rest of the regular season, however. He has looked adequate at times but overmatched as well. Athletic bigs and quick guards’ intent on exploiting him on PnR’s have been his biggest challenges so far. Boogie will be sharply targeted by these scenarios and strategies in the playoffs.

Potential Rigorous Playoff Scene

The West seems weaker at the top, but deeper than usual. This means, it will still be challenging for the Warriors depending on matchups. They will need everybody, including Boogie, to be on their A-game. Imagine a first round matchup against LeBron’s Lakers, followed by James Harden‘s Rockets, and finishing with a Conference Finals against the Thunder. That will be an absolute murderer’s row and a lot of fun for the fans.

Overall, the Dubs’ remaining schedule is very average, but there are a few games that should tell us how things will look come playoffs. This is assuming the Dubs show up focused and engaged for these games, which they tend to do post all-star break. These games include the Thunder, Rockets, 76ers and Celtics, with Oklahoma City seeming to be the toughest matchup of this list. This should be a wild ride for the Dubs through June even if the destination ends up being all too familiar. Dub Nation better strap on their seat belts and get ready.

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About Aravind Srinivasan

Aravind loves two things- the NBA and writing. He has been a long-time Phoenix Suns fans since the Charles Barkley-Kevin Johnson era of the mid-90’s. He now lives in the Golden State and follows the Warriors closely. An avid sports and NBA blogger since the early days of blogging, he is now a Suns and Dubs writer for TLSM. His favourite Sun is Steve Nash and his favourite Warrior is Steph Curry. Twitter: @15cent

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