Golden State Warriors: 5 alternative facts

Feb 4, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry speaks with the media at the stakeout position outside the West Wing after a ceremony honoring the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors in the East Room at the White House. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 4, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry speaks with the media at the stakeout position outside the West Wing after a ceremony honoring the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors in the East Room at the White House. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /
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Golden State Warriors
Jun 16, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) stares at Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) in the fourth quarter in game six of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland won 115-101. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

The Warriors that won 73 games blew a 3-1 lead in the Finals

The Golden State Warriors were up 3-1 in the NBA Finals. Then, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers then capped off an improbable comeback, erasing that deficit and defeating the Warriors in Game 7. It was absolute chaos.

The Warriors were embarrassed. They won 73 regular season games–beating the mark set by Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls–and they did it in style. They were blowing teams out and making it look easy. Professional players looked like high schoolers compared to them.

Golden State was a well-oiled machine behind the first ever unanimous MVP. Everything was going right for them. The playoffs were just a formality.

That is, until they weren’t. Steph Curry sprained his knee in the second round of the playoffs and missed time with an MCL sprain. The Warriors struggled without him, forced him to come back early, and he produced. He scored 17 points in overtime in Game 4 and told the Portland crowd “I’m here, I’m back.”

Curry then went up against the explosive Russell Westbrook in a demanding and physically taxing seven game series. The Warriors built moment after winning four straight to beat Oklahoma City while Cleveland struggled to beat Toronto. It looked like the repeat was imminent.

Golden State went up 3-1 and the parade preparations were underway. Then Draymond Green was suspended for something that was blown out of proportion. Then Andrew Bogut went down. Then Klay Thompson hurt his leg and, worse, Andre Iguodala hurt his back. Curry’s injury never healed and, alas, Cleveland made history.

James, Kyrie Irving, and co. all did what they had to do. They played who was in front of them, played their best basketball, and came away with a narrow victory. But it wasn’t the 73 win Warriors that let that lead slip away.

That team was decimated by bad luck and injuries. They had the healthy Cavaliers right where they wanted them then the wheels fell off, starting with Green’s untimely and controversial suspension. Curry’s struggles were a result of a not-fully-recovered knee injury and the rest of the team got hurt at the worst time.

The Warriors hadn’t lost three in a row in over two seasons. It doesn’t make sense that they would just fall apart with a title on the line. They weren’t “exposed” or “trash” or any number of words Twitter trolls like to use; they had bad luck. It happens.

That 73-win team was great. Unfortunately, that’s not who we got in the Finals, for one reason or a another.

Here’s a fact: the 73-9 Warriors did not lose to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Alternate fact: Steph Curry and the Warriors magically forgot how to play basketball and casually dropped four games in a row to an inferior team that they dominated for two hours.