Warriors’ composure will be tested on this back-to-back
The Golden State Warriors have a big back-to-back against the Memphis Grizzlies and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Their composure will be tested.
The Golden State Warriors will be playing a back-to-back. The two contests aren’t against title contenders, but they will test the league’s top team. They’ll take on the Memphis Grizzlies and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Grizzlies have given the Warriors lots of trouble, including overcoming a 24 point deficit and defeating Golden State in overtime at Oracle Arena. The Thunder, of course, have Russell Westbrook. They are formidable opponents.
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But the Warriors’ biggest problem will not be anything that the other teams do, it will be themselves. Golden State will have to remained poised over the next 96 minutes. This will be the biggest test to their discipline and patience thus far.
The Warriors hate losing. It’s why they’re at the top of the standings. It’s why they haven’t lost back-to-back games in the regular season in years. It’s also why they’re going to have to stay in control against Memphis.
The Grizzlies embarrassed the Warriors on their home floor. Losing a 24 point lead and a 19 point lead in the fourth quarter is inexcusable. They bullied Golden State on their own court. Kevin Durant and Draymond Green got into an argument on the court because Memphis had gotten in their heads.
The Warriors are better than Memphis. While the Grizzlies do pose matchup problems at a few different positions, they are less talented than Golden State. Stephen Curry and co. like to pile it on teams that beat them the next time they play.
While the Warriors can certainly do that, they have to make sure they keep their emotions in check. They can only get revenge if they execute. Golden State is no stranger to hostile environments and the FedEx Forum will definitely be rocking. The Warriors can’t let their quest to avenge their loss cloud their disciple and judgment.
Saturday, Kevin Durant will be returning to Oklahoma City for the first time since his decision. It will be, obviously, be a very emotional return. After eight years, Durant now takes the court as a member of the enemy.
The Warriors cannot divert from their game plan too much trying to get Durant involved. They have a tendency to force feed players in certain situations. While getting KD more looks is never a bad idea, they shouldn’t sacrifice their collective rhythm for a personal reason
Durant gave all he had for eight years to the Oklahoma City Thunder. He wowed the fans on a nightly basis. He nearly carried them to a championship while he was winning scoring titles and the MVP.
The franchise abandoned him and didn’t give him anything to work with. They let him down long before he let them down. Durant didn’t abandon OKC the place or the fans, both are near and dead to his heart. He left the organization that failed him.
The people that he lived with, worked with, entertained, and loved for nearly a decade are angry and hurt. On Saturday, they’ll finally be able to express that directly to Durant. For someone who loved the area and integrated himself into that community, it will be painful.
While it’s much easier said than done, Durant cannot get too caught up in the emotions of the night. The Warriors cannot let themselves get too carried away with trying to get Durant to have a career night against his former team. They need to remain poised.
The Warriors have their work cut out for them on the basketball court. While the two teams are inferior, they still have really good talent. Marc Gasol and Russell Westbrook are huge obstacles that Golden State needs to deal with; they needn’t add their own emotions to their list of problems.