So every frontrunner’s favorite twee basketball unicorns, the Golden State Warriors, the best regular-season NBA team of all time, got duffed by a combined 52 points in two blowout losses in Oklahoma City by the Thunder, previously every frontrunner’s favorite twee basketball unicorns. This was the first time the Warriors have lost consecutive games since they went down 2-1 in last season’s Finals, and now they’re down 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals, a loss away from elimination, where pretty much nobody expected them to be as recently as a few days ago.
The big question of the moment is simple: What’s wrong with them?!? Is Steph Curry injured? Is that why he’s shooting 42-percent for the series, turning the ball over a ton, and getting dusted by Russell Westbrook on defense over and over again? Is it why he did this?
What about Draymond Green? Is he psyched out by the blowback he received after he crane-kicked Thunder center Steven Adams in the dick and balls back in Game 3? Is he playing tentatively because he knows he’ll trigger an automatic suspension if he picks up another flagrant foul between now and the end of the season? Is that why he’s shooting 33-percent for the series, turning the ball over a ton, and getting dusted by Kevin Durant on defense over and over again? Is it why he went -73 in Games 3 and 4? Is it why he did this?
Are they worn out from pursuing the all-time record for wins in a regular season? Are they getting hosed by the refs? Have they lacked intensity? Is this all just noise, a normal but ill-timed fluctuation in the essentially random currents of shot-making? Were they never all that good to begin with? Is Steve Kerr blowing it? Did Joe Lacob blow it? Who blew it??
“Something must be amiss,” says the Wall Street Journal. Slate wonders what it might be. The New York Times does too. So does Tim Kawakami. The one thing pretty much everybody seems to agree on is that it’s something. For some reason, the Warriors aren’t playing as well against the Thunder as they did when they went 73-9 in the regular season.
I would like to suggest that we are all looking at this inside-out. The Warriors getting their asses kicked isn’t a mystery that needs explanation. It is the explanation! Why is Steph Curry playing badly? Because the Thunder are kicking his ass! Why is Draymond Green imploding? Because the Thunder are kicking his ass! Why aren’t they doing the dope shit they usually do? Because the Thunder are kicking their asses! Why don’t they look like the team that went 73-9 in the regular season? Because that team wasn’t getting its ass kicked!
The Warriors are getting their asses kicked. The Thunder are kicking their asses. What is wrong with the Golden State Warriors is that they are playing the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are kicking their asses.
But wait, wiseass, you are saying. That does not explain why Steph Curry, who made 48 percent of wide-open three-point attempts during the regular season, is only making 35 percent of them in this series. Sure it does! He’s missing more wide-open shots because he’s spending all the rest of his time getting his ass kicked by the Thunder, and that is causing him to play worse.
Here, you can simulate this for yourself. Pick a thing you normally do very well. Are you normally very good at tying your shoes? Okay. Now leap into the tiger cage at the zoo and fistfight the tigers. Now try to tie your shoes. Not so good at it anymore, are you? Hell no you are not. Because you got your ass kicked.
But that is a bad analogy, you are saying, through your feeding tube. The Warriors went 3-0 against the Thunder in the regular season. The Thunder are not the tigers. The Warriors are the tigers! There must be some underlying reason why they cannot replicate that success now, in the playoffs. Like for example that all my sweet Warriors boys have boo-boos and so this doesn’t really count. Nah! Two different formats of basketball, my brehs. The Warriors kicked the Thunder’s asses in one; now the Thunder are kicking the Warriors’ asses in the other. Circle of life, if you ask me.
It’s elegant! It explains everything. It requires no tortured apologetics and does not refute what we have all seen on television this week. The Warriors are playing badly and getting beaten because the Thunder are kicking their asses. Maybe they will kick the Thunder’s asses tonight, or maybe they will get their asses kicked. Or maybe an asteroid will strike the earth! Who can know?