Why the Golden State Warriors won’t make it to the Western Conference Finals

It was a rare, rainy weekend in Los Angeles, California when I realized it.

Because of the rain, I was inside watching a wild animal documentary on Netflix. The segment that intrigued me the most was about a wildebeest in the great plains of Africa. The wildebeest was running away from a pack of wild African dogs. The wildebeest dwarfed the dogs in size of course, but it was one versus a pack of twelve. With every bite and nip at its legs, the wildebeest gradually slowed down in its effort to get back to the herd of safety. The wildebeest was fast and strong, but not built for the long run. The wild dogs, built for endurance, prevailed and eventually tackled the wildebeest down, feasting in a gruesome fashion. Kind of reminded me of myself on cheat day, when I go to In & Out.

Anyway, before you go thinking this is a national geographic article, think about the message.

The Golden State Warriors are now hampered down by injury. The past three seasons of championship runs have taken their toll on this team, and their “precipitous” fall has landed them in second place in the western conference for the first time in three years. The western conference is wild. Sort of like those wild dogs in Africa, licking their chops and ready to take down the reigning champions.

With Golden State now essentially destined for the second seed, barring any horrific or catastrophes from the Houston Rockets, it got me to thinking.

Could they be knocked out before making the western conference finals?

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The answer is yes. Before you get in your feelings, let me tell you why.

It’s coming down to 5 teams that could potentially be in the seventh seed this year, and I will break down the chances of each team’s chances beating the Warriors in the first round.

 

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Portland Trailblazers

The Trailblazers, led by Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum currently have a 2-1 season record over the Dubs. I love Lillard’s attitude every time he goes up against Stephen Curry. Are we so sure that Curry is the better of the two? Just kidding. Curry definitely is, but Lillard is coming, and not far at all. Lillard dropped 44 points on the Warriors on Valentine’s day, leading to a Trailblazers victory and backcourt tandem of Lillard and McCollum combined for 58 points in their most recent victory over the Warriors. It is unlikely that the trailblazers slip to the seventh seed, but it is indeed possible, and if it happens, this is a toss-up for me, as the Warriors will still be trying to regain health, while matching up against a troublesome foe.

Oklahoma City Thunder

I pray!!!!!! I am praying that the current fourth seeded Thunder fall to seventh seed so they can get the Warriors in the first round. They currently have a 2-1 season record over the Warriors, with one final regular season show down coming up. I would bet my whole savings account on that the Thunder would take full advantage of this team in the first round and eliminate them in… ehh. Six games? That isn’t being flippant to the Warriors, but the Thunder match up really well against them, and if we’re being honest, the Warriors are experiencing the inverse of the last three years. They are the injured team this time, competing against healthy teams. The brilliance of Paul George’s two way skills, combined with the explosiveness of Russell Westbrook, shooting of Carmelo Anthony, and that big man holding down the paint Steven Adams… Lord have mercy, this would be like Christmas coming early.

 

New Orleans Pelicans

In the words of my friend, and mentor Rob Parker: “No way, No how!” Anthony Davis is a monster, averaging 28 points and 11 rebounds for the season, but with Demarcus “Boogie” Cousins out for the season, it’s not happening.

 

Minnesota Timberwolves

This is the most likely scenario, as the Timberwolves are currently in the seventh seed, and according to fivethirtyeight.com, it’s probable that they will stay there. While the Timberwolves have a respectable amount of talent, with Jimmy Butler, Karl Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Derrick Rose. JUST KIDDING LOL. Derrick Rose does not deserve to be mentioned with the rest of those, but I think they would give the Warriors a fair run for their money. They currently rank 18th in the league at three-point shooting, and a respectable 10th ranked defensively. I would be disrespecting the Warriors if I said this team could beat them though. They aren’t a threat.

 

San Antonio Spurs

Hmmm. Depends on if Kawhi Leonard will be back or not. According to Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express news, Leonard expressed to his teammates that a return is the goal this season. If that holds to be true, which I predict that it will, then I believe the Spurs will exact revenge on the Warriors for the 2017 Western Conference Finals. Coach Gregg Popovich is the greatest NBA coach of all time, and I think that with Kawhi inserted, and a rejuvenated Lamarcus Aldridge, they could overcome the injury stricken Warriors and beat them. If Kawhi does not come back, then the Warriors will advance to the second round.

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My Prediction

 

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Follow me on twitter @mark_a_gilbert for more great reads and predictions


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