Sports fans have grown accustomed to comparing the excitement of today’s game with yesterday’s, with great player and team comparisons like, “Is LeBron James better than Michael Jordan?” or “Is Jordan better than Bill Russell?”
The Minneapolis Lakers back in the 1950s won four NBA titles in five years. The Boston Celtics during the 1960s also won four NBA titles in five years. Are any teams today comparable to these greats?
During the Jordan years in the 1990s, the Chicago Bulls won six NBA titles. Twice they won three years in a row, but not since the Lakers and Celtics has an NBA team won four NBA titles in five years.
The 2018-19 Warriors return to Minneapolis on Friday; they have won 50 or more games six years in a row. With less than 10 games remaining, they are gearing up for another title run. They are going for their third title in a row and fourth in five years.
Coach Steve Kerr could join coaches John Kundla and Red Auerbach as the only NBA coaches to achieve such a feat. Superstar Stephen Curry averages 28 points a game, third in the NBA in scoring. On March 19 at Target Center, in a 117-107 win over the Timberwolves, he scored 36 points, 22 of them in the third quarter.
When he gets in the Curry zone, he sometimes does a little dance shimmy. “There is no criteria,” said Curry of this move. “Sometimes I immediately regret it after I do it, but that happens from time to time. When you’re having fun and get it going, especially in a quarter, you just have fun.”
The Warriors a few years ago won an NBA-record 73 games in the regular season. Curry was the MVP that year. He is regarded as the greatest long-range shooting guard in NBA history. He’s made more three-point shots in one season than any player in history. In fact, he is the reason most NBA teams are attempting and making more long-range three-point shots.
The Warriors are loaded. Kevin Durant averages 27.4 points per game and was the NBA Finals MVP the last two years. Curry and Klay Thompson are called “the splash brothers” because of their long-range shooting ability. Thompson averages 22.4 points a game. Then there’s Draymond Green, who does virtually everything for the Warriors — he rebounds, defends, passes, sets screens and scores.
The Warriors are battling Denver and Houston in the rugged Western Conference for the number-one seed and the home court in the playoffs. The Warriors are the NBA’s highest scoring team at 117 per game and the best shooting team at 48.7 percent from the field. They’re the best passing team with 29.1 assists per game. In the victory over Minnesota, they had 39 that night.
Yet, they have been accused by some critics of coasting this season. Winning is not easy even if you do it more than everyone else. I’m a firm believer in making progress, and that means seizing every moment.
This year’s team also leads the NBA in blocked shots per game, 6.42, which means they can defend. “We’ve experimented a lot, especially over the last few years,” Curry said. “With different rotations and from year to year, things have changed.
“Obviously with the weapons we have, you don’t really know from night to night how shots are going to come [or] who’s really going to be featured. And that’s the beauty of what we do,” he continued, “highlighting the guy who’s hot and playing within our system on offense. When we’re really dialed in, we’re not forcing anything, and it helps for me to have a flow, make or miss shots but be aggressive.”
The Warriors are clearly in position to win it again. They’ve been down this road before.