After blowing out the Rockets yet again Wednesday – Golden State beat Houston by 26+ points three times in the first round – the Warriors can sit back, relax and wait for their next opponent. Yes, they would probably rather play the Clippers – who would be without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin – over the upstart Trail Blazers, but it might not matter either way.
The Warriors, with or without Steph Curry, aren’t losing in the second round.
“I don’t get the sense that they look at it and expect that he’s going to be back in two weeks,” Bleacher Report NBA writer Ric Bucher said on CBS Sports After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I think they put a timeline on (his injury) because this team needs something to sort of look at and say, ‘Look, we just need to stay alive. We expect Steph to be back at some point, and all we have to do is keep ourselves alive until that happens.’ And they are completely confident that they’re capable of doing that.”
The Warriors lost Curry just before halftime of Game 4 in Houston. The game was tied at 56. Without Curry, the Warriors outscored the Rockets 65-38 in the second half. Then they blew them out by 33 in the series finale Wednesday.
“They’re not dismissing or downplaying how important Steph is to them,” Bucher said, “but people routinely underestimate the general confidence of this team. Draymond Green is fully confident that he can find a way to help compensate for the absence of Steph Curry as the leader. Klay Thompson is totally confident that he can provide the long-range shooting and overall scoring that they need, particularly with the game on the line. Every guy on this team feels like they’ve been discounted over and over again, and this is just one more opportunity to say, ‘You know what? All you prognosticators out there, you really don’t know who we are and how good we are, and we’re going to show you one more time.’”
It isn’t bravado from the Warriors, either. Bucher is just as confident in them as they are in themselves.
“I actually am,” Bucher said. “If you’re asking me can the Warriors get to the Finals without Steph Curry, they’re capable of getting to the Finals without Steph Curry. Their margin of error is much smaller, but it’s there. All the ingredients for playing the way they play are there. There are some guys that are going to have to step up. Klay may have to hit some game-winning shots. He hasn’t been in that role and hasn’t proven that on the biggest stage the way that Steph has, but if you’re asking me is he capable, absolutely he’s capable. You can go down the line for all the things that they need to be able to put themselves back in the NBA Finals.”
To be clear, Bucher isn’t talking about the Western Conference Finals. He’s talking about the NBA Finals.
That means he believes the Warriors would beat the Spurs even without Curry.
“Look, they should have beaten San Antonio four times this year,” Bucher said. “That’s the reality. They housed them twice in Golden State. I know there’s a lot of people out there that think the Spurs are the biggest threat to the Golden State Warriors. If they’re the biggest threat to the Golden State Warriors, then I don’t know that the Warriors have that big of a threat.”