Golden State Warriors their own biggest challengers in the playoffs

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    In an impressive road victory, the Golden State Warriors proved that their own internal demise is the only roadblock keeping them from another title.

    Ever since Kevin Durant arrived in the Bay Area in the summer of 2017, NBA fans have been in constant pursuit of any reason to not believe that the Golden State Warriors will wind up as champions once again.

    Yet, here we are today, with Golden State having taken home each of the last two championships with a third likely on the way. Come postseason time, every team deemed a worthy challenger looks foolish with hindsight, bringing everyone back to the drawing board and praying for just a single competitor capable of just making things interesting.

    Like every squad, the Warriors have gone through their fair share of ups and downs this season with internal controversies and a number of injuries. The idea of a possible end to their reign of terror has resurfaced,  but it was the team’s most recent victory over the Houston Rockets that helped reaffirm their all-time greatness in the face of adversity once again.

    Heading into this battle at the Toyota Center, the Warriors had every reason to take the L. Having lost four of their last six games, they were without Kevin Durant and were up against a red-hot Rockets squad that had won its previous nine contests heading into this nationally televised battle between the two reigning Western Conference Finals participants.

    As we’ve come to see in recent years, Golden State’s effort level tends to ebb and flow on a night-to-night basis. At the same time, the reigning two-time champs also have a tendency to turn on the energy whenever they feel like it in order to reassert their dominance over the rest of the league.

    Despite what the final score of 106-104 might suggest, the Warriors were in control for a majority of the 48 minutes, leading by as many as 14 with only a slight four-point deficit early in the second half. The Splash Brothers combined for 54 points while DeMarcus Cousins stepped up in KD’s absence with a line of 27 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

    It’s always proven incredibly difficult to stay motivated over the course of an 82-game season when you’re playing for something bigger. It’s why Michael Jordan literally made up narratives as a way to keep himself invested in the season’s middle months.

    The Warriors may have some disappointing losses to teams like the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns, but at the end of the day, this group of players is probably the greatest collection of talent ever assembled. When they choose to play at a high level, not many opponents can match them in a single game, much less over the course of a seven-game playoff series.

    A defeat at the hands of a formidable opponent opens up a discussion about the ins and outs of a possible postseason matchup. Multiple losses in a short period of time spark a debate as to whether or not the Dubs still have what it takes to overcome both the physical and mental hurdles accumulated over the years, but for the past two seasons, none of those supposed controversies has come to matter in the end.

    This isn’t to say everything is perfect out in Oakland, what with the impending free agency of Durant and the possible lasting effect of his heated November exchange with Draymond Green. But to suggest that one of the 29 other teams has what it takes to corral this historic juggernaut at its best is foolish.

    Next: Week 22 NBA Power Rankings

    If the Warriors aren’t crowned champions come June, it won’t be because someone else knocks them off. Rather, the only roadblock standing in their way of history is their ability to block out all the drama and storylines and get back to the basics of playing basketball at a level we’ve rarely seen in the past.

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