The home stretch of the NBA’s regular season is coming and the Golden State Warriors have found themselves in a very familiar position atop the Western Conference standings. However, their position in the standings may be the only familiar aspect for the 2017 Warriors and their fans.
After setting the NBA record with 73 regular-season wins last season and the addition of NBA superstar Kevin Durant, the Warriors were expected to roll through the regular season. Despite a 29-point opening season loss to the San Antonio Spurs, the Warriors were living up to their lofty expectations. From October through January, the Warriors had not lost more than two games in one month. The Warriors were on their way to doing the same in February, but everything changed two minutes into their last game of the month.
On February 28th, the Warriors were playing the Wizards in Washington D.C. The hype going into this game was big. The Wizards had drastically improved this season and are likely to have a top four seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Washington D.C. is also the childhood home for Kevin Durant. Durant did not consider the Wizards during free agency last summer and the Wizard fans were ready to voice their displeasure.
With a little over two minutes into the first quarter, Wizards Center Marcin Gortat was fighting for position with Warriors Center Zaza Pachulia. Pachulia was thrown to the ground and fell into Durant’s left knee. The result was a grade-2 MCL sprain and a bone bruise, and Durant has been not played since.
Many Warrior fans were upset and were calling Gortat’s play “Dirty” for chucking Pachulia to the ground. However Warriors General Manager Bob Meyers disagreed.
“I don’t think anything untoward. My thought- and I think I speak for the organization- is I don’t think anything untoward occurred. These things happen in sports.”
The Warriors went on to lose the game in Washington. Then they lost their next game in Chicago, which became the first time that the Warriors had lost back-to-back NBA regular season games in almost three years. The Warriors would win their next two games in a somewhat sloppy fashion but then in a four-day span, lost three games in a row to Boston, Minnesota, and San Antonio.
A degree of panic had set in the Bay Area. Fearing that his stars had become worn out, Head Coach Steve Kerr rested Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguadola against San Antonio.
“The Warriors were not looking good and I was getting worried about how this team was going to play out the rest of the season,” said NDNU Basketball starting center Korey Serna. “Thankfully they have been playing better lately and Kevin Durant should be coming back soon.”
The Warriors have been playing better lately. After losing three games in a row, the Warriors found themselves down by 17 to the lowly 76ers. They made a furious 4thquarter comeback and have won eight games in a row. To make matters even better, CSN Bay Area has posted a video of Kevin Durant working out before the Houston Rockets game on March 28th. The Warriors Public Relations Office updated his recovery on March 29th.
“Kevin has made very good progress since suffering the injury four weeks ago in Washington. He has not experienced any setbacks to date and has progressed as well as could be expected.”
After a month of uncertainty, it seems that the Warriors have found their groove once again. With 8 games remaining in the regular season, the Warriors are in first place in the Western Conference and it appears that Kevin Durant will be on the court when the playoffs come. It seems that the Warriors are coming together at exactly the right time.