Sport Opinion: Warriors' travails are good for the NBA

16:01  15 march  2018
16:01  15 march  2018 Source:   sfgate.com

Warriors' Kevin Durant 'felt like a kid' while touring the African American history museum

  Warriors' Kevin Durant 'felt like a kid' while touring the African American history museum Kevin Durant reflected on the Warriors' visit to the African American history museum on Tuesday.Instead of visiting the White House like teams often do after winning a championship, the Warriors toured the National Museum of African American History and Culture along with 40 kids from Seat Pleasant Activity Center in Durant’s Maryland hometown.

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James Harden seems to have the MVP Award all wrapped up, but what about the MVT — Most Valuable Team?

The Warriors are putting in their bid.

Presented as evidence: Wednesday night’s game against the Lakers. Under normal circumstances, that’s not a game, it’s another tedious mismatch. But the Warriors, with three All-Stars and a couple of key role players sidelined, trotted out what looked like a Las Vegas summer-league lineup, and had to scrap hard to earn a win over a non-playoff team.

Curry tweaks ankle, has 28 as Warriors top Hawks

  Curry tweaks ankle, has 28 as Warriors top Hawks The Golden State Warriors beat the Atlanta Hawks 114-109 on Friday night for their fifth straight victory. Curry turned his right ankle and left the game in the first quarter. He returned for his high-scoring second period before returning to the locker room for good in the third. The Warriors said a "tweaked right ankle" was the reason Curry would not return.BOX SCORE: WARRIORS 114, HAWKS 109Kevin Durant also had 28 points for the Warriors, who are unbeaten since the All-Star break.

Remember when the Warriors were going to destroy the NBA with their overwhelming talent and dazzling style? They would steamroll their way to a second straight championship, and in the process, they would make the rest of the league look bumbling and desperate.

No longer the lovable newcomers of three seasons back, the Warriors would be the yawning bullies, just too good for the league’s own good, too cute to love and too powerful to stop.

The rest of the league, meanwhile, would retreat into rebuilding mode, would-be contending teams laying low for a couple of seasons until the Warriors came back to earth.

That was the feeling around the rest of the league. In the Bay Area, fans would have enjoyed the romp and another championship, but deep down, a bit of boredom would have set in. How many routs can you watch without pining for the old days, when most games would be games?

Could the Spurs really miss the playoffs?

  Could the Spurs really miss the playoffs? The San Antonio Spurs — yes, the same Spurs threatening your favorite West team in the playoffs every season — have lost eight of their last 10 games. Kawhi Leonard still hasn’t returned from a lingering, confusing quadriceps injury, and LaMarcus Aldridge recently sprained his ankle, costing him Saturday’s game against the Lakers. 2 Savings Accounts Pay 10x What Your Bank Pays Learn More Sponsored by MyFinance The Spurs’ only wins have come against a struggling Cavaliers team and the lowly Phoenix Suns. Their loss to Los Angeles was rock bottom.

The irony: The Warriors, the most fun team in sports, were going to take the fun out of the season.

Well, the fun is back. When the Warriors have had everyone healthy, they still have been oddly out of sync at times. Great, still, but not unbeatable.

Meanwhile, at least some other teams, rather than being demoralized by the Warriors’ talent overload, have been energized and challenged. Like the Houston Rockets. They added a couple of key players and have been smart enough — not just head coach Mike D’Antoni, but Harden and the rest of the crew — to meld themselves into a team, rather than a group of strong performers. Right now, the Rockets lead the league in joy.

Instead of being intimidated by the Warriors, the Rockets have been inspired. It’s the circle of life. Golden State head coach Steve Kerr stole a lot of his offensive concepts from D’Antoni, and D’Antoni has said, “I’ll see your spacing, Steve, and raise you a rain of three-pointers.”

Analysis: Steph Curry's latest ankle injury puts Golden State Warriors in tough spot

  Analysis: Steph Curry's latest ankle injury puts Golden State Warriors in tough spot Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors face delicate situation surrounding Steph Curry's health and team's desire for No. 1 playoff seed.One moment the Golden State Warriors were sharing their grandiose plans for the home stretch of the regular season, floating the idea recently that they might finish with a 24-game winning streak and thus remind the NBA masses that the Larry O’Brien trophy still resides here. Then three games later, when Steph Curry went down with yet another ankle sprain just two minutes into Thursday night’s 110-107 win against the San Antonio Spurs at Oracle Arena, it was time to reassess.

Now, instead of a one-team show, we’ve got a season cookin’.

Even the Lakers. They came into Wednesday’s game rocking 20 wins in their previous 29 games. They’re a season away, but they might get there under Luke Walton, the Warriors’ gift to Los Angeles.

The Warriors’ injuries have played a role in the rest of the league joining the fun. Stephen Curry’s right ankle alone has created a competitive balance and added a major dash of suspense to the Warriors’ run for a title.

Curry sat out another game Wednesday, on his 30th birthday, and on the day his new shoe dropped. The new Curry kicks are — seriously — an homage to Pi Day, a day when we honor the number 3.14 (etc.). Another reason for the haters to hate Curry: Now he’s a math snob? Incidentally, if you put a scoop of ice cream on each of the new Curry sneaks, you have pi a la mode.

Oh, the mysteries of the universe. We can compute pi to a million decimal points, but we can’t design a shoe that will prevent Curry’s right ankle from rolling every time he steps on a gum wrapper.

Since the Warriors began their run of excellence five years ago, injuries have been their friend. Most of their significant injuries, inevitable in the NBA, have occurred at fortuitous times. Example: Last year’s Kevin Durant injury energized Curry’s game. Injury rehabs have provided valuable rest breaks.

Timberwolves go to Towns in 109-103 win vs. Warriors

  Timberwolves go to Towns in 109-103 win vs. Warriors Karl-Anthony Towns helped Minnesota stop a season-longest three-game losing streak with 31 points and 16 rebounds, and the Timberwolves powered their way past Golden State down the stretch for a 109-103 victory on Sunday to hand the Warriors their second straight defeat without Stephen Curry. 2 Bank Accounts That Pay 10x What Your Bank Pays Learn More Sponsored by MyFinance Kevin Durant had 39 points and 12 rebounds for the Warriors, who left Curry at home from this road trip to rest an injured right ankle and lost 125-108 to Portland on Friday.

With Curry and Klay Thompson out Wednesday, Quinn Cook got an extended run, another chance to thrive offensively. The Warriors like Cook’s potential, but if he’s going to be useful come the playoffs, he’s going to have to earn the respect of Kerr and the Warriors. On Wednesday, Cook took a step in that direction.

There was a danger, at the beginning of the season, that the Warriors would get too full of themselves. What they’re going through now is giving them a touch of humility, a taste of reality. Whatever they accomplish from here until the end of the season, they’ll appreciate it.

And the rest of basketball will appreciate the Warriors more. Hey, they get injuries just like we do.

The Warriors have turned a boring NBA season into a fun one. But it will be a lot more fun when all the Warriors come back. Maybe when Curry unveils his Theory of Relativity sneaks.

Scott Ostler is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. Email: sostler@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @scottostler

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