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Steph Curry’s Back… and the NBA Playoffs are Pretty Much Decided

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The first two rounds have been full of exhilarating basketball in the 2018 NBA playoffs. There have been clutch shots, phenomenal players playing at the highest level, and incredible drama, all things the NBA thrives at giving their audience.

But Tuesday night, the league’s best team got their most valuable player back. Steph Curry, after missing 31 games in the regular season, and the entire first round of the playoffs, played against the Pelicans in game two of the Western Conference Semifinals. Right away, he showed why he truly is one of the most valuable players in the NBA.

The main reason the Warriors are so far ahead and better than anyone is not strictly talent based, as crazy as that sounds. Yes, having Durant, Klay, Draymond, and Steph on the floor at the same time is a luxury and a huge factor in their success, but it is not the main reason. The Warriors are the best because of how much pressure they put on teams defensively in both the half-court and in transition. Many teams have high volume, high percentage shooters like both the Rockets and the 76ers, but when you run the system the Warriors do in terms of always looking ahead, always making the extra pass (Warriors lead the NBA 29 assists per game), and always getting your best players high percentage shots, they are almost impossible to beat.

As far as Steph goes, his immediate impact happens right when he steps on the court. He truly is a threat to score from anywhere, and it does wonders for the team’s offense. He scored 28 points last night, shooting 5-10 from the three-point line, and recording a ridiculous +26 when on the floor.

Although Steph’s impacts as a top 3 players in the NBA should be admired, the way the Warriors defend is a key factor in their sustained playoff success. Having a versatile defender in Draymond Green as the heart and soul of their defense is so beneficial and we saw it on full display last night. In the first half of last night’s game, Anthony Davis was doing whatever he wanted on the post, and the Warriors were having trouble guarding him one on one with their centers. So, as all good teams do, they adjusted: in the second half they sent double teams, put Durant on him, they put Draymond on him who seems to take every one on one defensive matchup personally, and the Warriors as a result took full control of the game from there on out.

Now the Rockets do look like the biggest threat to the Warriors, but they have seemed like a very beatable team in my eyes, and I think the Jazz are going to make it a really competitive series in the Western Conference finals, and are going to steal that series away from them in 7 games. Nonetheless, the Warriors are the best basketball team in the world, and it is a great thing to watch. I don’t see them losing another game from here on out.  Warriors in 4.

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Steph Curry’s Back… and the NBA Playoffs are Pretty Much Decided