By Tyler Zaring, Sports Writer
One would think that after surpassing the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls record 72-wins in a season, you would be satisfied and not much more left to prove. However, that is not the mindset amongst members of the Golden State Warriors. After finishing the season 73-9, the Warriors are looking to accomplish much more than that by capturing their second consecutive NBA Championship. In fact, these players consider the season a failure if they are unable to take the Larry O’Brien Trophy back to the bay area.
Unfortunately, their chances of repeating could be in jeopardy after the breaking news that came out on Monday afternoon. After playing limited minutes in Game 1 and missing the next two games against the Houston Rockets in the 1st round of the Western Conference Playoffs, MVP and scoring leader, Stephen Curry, will be out with a sprained right MCL. The team announced that an MRI revealed a Grade 1 sprain, and Curry will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Although the Warriors are still an outstanding team, the loss of Curry will definitely hinder them going forward in the playoffs. It will be interesting to watch how the team responds losing their leader for what could possibly be the remainder of the season. It will be even more important for shooting guard, Klay Thompson, and power forward, Draymond Green, to step up and continue their impressive seasons if Golden State hopes to make another deep run for a title.
Thompson has been having a very productive season for Golden State, averaging 22.1 ppg and shooting 42.5% from three-point range on the season. Green also had an outstanding year, averaging nearly a double double with 14 ppg and 9.5 rpg. However, they will also need the help from players like Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala during Curry’s absence.
Because of the impact Curry has had, the Warriors will be more vulnerable to defeat. His loss could lead to a very competitive potential matchup with the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. The Spurs are also coming off of a very incredible season, finishing with a record of 67-15. In fact, after being second behind Golden State the entire year, San Antonio is now the favorite to win the NBA title, following Monday’s news.
San Antonio knocked out the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, completing the four game sweep with a 116-95 victory. Golden State, likewise, will most likely move past the Houston Rockets and into the second round. If the two teams move past their second round opponent, they will meet up once again, with the winner moving on to play for an NBA title.
There are many questions to be answered in the coming week or two. Will the Warriors get the opportunity to repeat, or will they struggle without their star leader? Will Curry be healthy enough to return, and if he does, how productive will he be? The injury to Curry could lead to an interesting ending to the NBA season and will ultimately make or break the record-setting season for the Golden State Warriors.