It felt like a little bit of a cop out at the time, and was perhaps a subtle plea to the front office ahead of an offseason where the Warriors need to retool amid some major short and long-term questions.
Golden State Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr is being proven right as the Denver Nuggets took a dominant 3-0 lead against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.
But the further the current Western Conference Finals goes, the more Kerr is being proven correct in the belief of his team (or lack thereof). The Lakers closed out the Warriors with a comfortable 122-101 win in Game 6, but have failed to take that ascendancy into their current matchup with the Denver Nuggets.
The first nail in the Lakers’ season was dealt at Crypto.com Arena on Saturday, with the Nuggets outscoring them 35-26 in the fourth-quarter to claim a 119-108 victory. It gives Denver an imposing 3-0 lead, and Los Angeles will have to create history if they want to comeback and advance to the NBA Finals.
While Nikola Jokic has been spectacular as usual, it’s been Nuggets’ guard Jamal Murray whose stole the show in the past two games. He had 23 points to put away the Lakers in the fourth-quarter of a close Game 2, and provided the difference again with 37 points in what could be the series-defining Game 3.
It’s difficult to forecast how the Warriors would have fared against this Nuggets team, particularly given they play a completely different style to that of the Lakers. Yet on season-long evidence and what we saw against the Lakers, it’s fair to acknowledge that Golden State likely would have struggled.
With much of the attention surrounding both the Warriors and Lakers, the Nuggets entered the postseason under the radar if there is such a thing for the number one seed. Contrary to the belief of many, their dominant regular season form has thus far carried over to the playoffs.
Golden State failed to capitalize on their chances against Los Angeles, falling in Game 1 after scores were tied with 90 seconds remaining, and blowing double-digit leads in Games 3 and 4. Yet the Nuggets present command over the Lakers shows that it may not have mattered anyway.