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The Golden State Warriors are likely going to have their toughest road yet to the NBA Finals during this season’s playoffs – they’re not sweeping most teams in the West. The conference is too talented for them to accomplish that.
However, no matter how things shake out during the regular season, Golden State should still be respected as the heavy favorites to represent the Western Conference yet again in the Finals.
The Warriors scored an NBA record 51 points in the first quarter Tuesday night against the Denver Nuggets, and they showed why they’re undeniably the best team of this generation.
As the Warriors defeated the Nuggets 142-111 on the road, they reminded the rest of the league why their high-powered offense is still to be feared.
Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson all scored 25+, and Curry and Thompson both had 31. During the first quarter, the Warriors also made a team-record 10 three-pointers.
Thompson even had a career-high four dunks, and he said throwing down the dunks felt better than making 10 threes in a game.
It’s still the regular season, but these types of performances from the Warriors should scare the rest of the league. This is what the Warriors do, and it’s what they’ve done since the start of their Finals runs in 2015.
Though the rest of the NBA is improving – the Nuggets were the top seed in the West before their loss – the Warriors still have the most talent.
They have three top-25 players in Durant, Curry, and Thompson, and any one of them can go for 30 points on any given night.
Durant is averaging 28.2 points per game this season, and Curry is averaging 29.5 points. Both of them are top five in points per game.
Even before Durant came to the team in the summer of 2016, Golden State still had some of the best offenses ever because of Curry’s and Thompson’s elite shooting.
And on top of all this, DeMarcus Cousins, the team’s newest star, is expected to make his season debut on Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers, coming back from a torn left Achilles tendon he suffered last season.
Cousins will be in the starting lineup against the Clippers, but he will likely be on a minutes restriction.
Since they started their reign over the NBA, the Warriors haven’t had a big man like Cousins.
He has traditional center qualities in that he can score in the post and back players down, but Cousins also has more modern big man abilities as well. He can shoot at a decent clip, as he’s connected on at least 35 percent of his attempts from the three-point line the past two seasons.
He can also pass when needed. He averaged a career-high 5.4 assists a game in 48 games last season.
It will be interesting to see how Cousins fits with the Warriors. He isn’t likely to slow them down because he isn’t completely a traditional center. He can run the floor, and that should bode well for the Warriors’ quick pace.
With Cousins coming back, the Warriors have the potential to boast an offense that’s better than what it already is. Cousins has averaged at least 20 points a game for the past five seasons.
As the Warriors prepare for the rest of the season, their play is only going to get better. The playoffs aren’t too close, but with about a month until the All-Star break, they’re closer now. And because of that, the Warriors are going to be just as they’ve always been.
They’re going to be nearly unstoppable, and that’s in large part because of their offense.