With their loss Monday night against the Brooklyn Nets, the Golden State Warriors are no longer owners of the NBA’s highest winning percentage. That honor goes to the Atlanta Hawks, who have the benefit of playing in a drastically less competitive conference, but have also been a more consistent team than the Warriors in recent weeks. Taken within the context of the entire season, the loss to the Nets could be considered uncharacteristic but looking at the way the Warriors have played during this six-game road trip, the loss wasn’t shocking.
The Warriors finished their Eastern Conference road trip 3-3, an abysmal record relative to their sheer dominance against Eastern Conference teams this season. Their three losses came at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, and the Nets. The only excusable loss was against the Cavaliers, a game in which the Warriors were forced to combat a dominant LeBron James performance. There’s no shame for accepting defeat at the hands of the best player on the planet, who finished with a stat line of 42 points and 11 rebounds.
Losses against the Pacers and Nets are cause for concern. Of course, the Warriors were without Curry when they battled against the Pacers but even a 39-point outburst from Klay Thompson was somehow not enough to beat a lesser Eastern Conference team. The only positive to come out of that game is that it may have bolstered Stephen Curry‘s case for MVP by highlighting how absolutely integral he is to the team, especially on the offensive end.
Even with Curry though, the Warriors were forced to work their way back from deficits in the second half against the Boston Celtics and Nets in consecutive games. Curry’s heroics allowed the Warriors to overcome a 26-point deficit and claw their way to a victory against the Celtics, but the same strategy was foiled when Nets’ guard Jarrett Jack – a former Warrior – hit the game winning jumper with a second left on the clock.
Come playoff time, the Warriors will need to be able to win on the road. Even if they finish with the best record in the league and secure home-court advantage for all potential playoff matchups, the Warriors will need to be able to pull out victories on the road to have a smooth playoff run. All championship teams in recent memory have had the ability to pull out timely road wins, and if the Warriors have real title aspirations, they’ll need to fine tune their play on the road.
Photo Credit: Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
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