There has been this narrative thrown around that somehow the Golden State Warriors have been the benefactors of good luck when it comes to health.
They have certainly faced teams in recent years that were not at full strength.
- Kyrie Irving missed all but one game of 2015 NBA Finals.
- Kevin Love missed all of 2015 NBA Finals.
- Kawhi Leonard was injured in Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference Finals.
- Chris Paul missed final two games of the 2018 Western Conference Finals.
Those are some major injuries. But it should also be noted that Golden State was not anywhere near 100% as it blew a 3-1 series lead against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals.
- Stephen Curry was nursing a sprained ankle during the series.
- Draymond Green was suspended for Game 5 with Golden State up 3-1 and hosting Cleveland in Oakland.
Narratives are normally a one-way street. They attempt to fit a point some are looking to make (objective or not).
This postseason has been much different. The Warriors have faced pretty much healthy squads throughout.
Though, their injuries have now come front and center.
- Kevin Durant (calf) has missed the past seven games and will be out for Game 3 of the Finals against Toronto.
- Klay Thompson (hamstring) missed the stretch run of the Warriors’ impressive Game 2 win. He’s questionable for Wednesday.
- Kevon Looney (collarbone) is out for the remainder of the Finals after suffering said injury in the first half of Game 2. He had been playing stellar basketball.
- Andre Iguodala (calf) missed Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals and reinjured himself back in Game 1 of the Finals.
- DeMarcus Cousins (torn quad) missed 14 games earlier in the playoffs before returning for Game 1 of the Finals. He suffered a separate leg injury in Game 2, but will play Wednesday.
The Warriors’ run of good luck has obviously subsided. Whether that narrative was even factual in the first place remains to be seen.
But what we do know is that if Golden State were to win a third consecutive title and fourth in five seasons, it would be their most impressive yet.
These injuries come at a time when the Warriors’ depth was already in question. Throwing out the likes of Quinn Cook, Jonas Jerebko, Andrew Bogut and Alfonzo McKinnie in crunch time during the NBA Finals is a less-than-ideal scenario.
Despite this, the Warriors are coming off what might have been their most impressive win of the Steve Kerr era.
With Thompson and Durant out of action down the stretch, Toronto went with a “janky” defense, as Stephen Curry put it. Said defense is called a box and one, something that’s normally limited for the high school game.
Curry did not score in the fourth quarter. In fact, Cook was the Warriors’ leading scorer in the second half with nine points. He was the catalyst for a 19-0 run in the third quarter that put this game away.
Golden State’s status as a “strength in numbers” team was truly questioned after Durant signed with the squad. But it has taken on a whole new meaning during this current run for a three-peat.
- Stephen Curry: Dude is averaging 33.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.0 assists in the seven games since Durant’s injury.
- Andre Iguodala: His three-point attempt late in Game 2 could have been bad for Golden State. If Iggy had missed, the Raptors would’ve had a chance to either win or tie the game. This didn’t impact the former NBA Finals MVP.
- Quinn Cook: With the Warriors needing another scorer in Game 2, Cook played a huge role in the team’s 19-0 third quarter run. He hit three treys during that span.
- DeMarcus Cousins: After struggling in his return to action in Game 1, Cousins was dominant Sunday evening. He dropped 11 points, nabbed 10 rebounds and dished out six assists.
This is the definition of strength in numbers. And if the Warriors were to defeat Toronto for a third consecutive title, it would be their most impressive ever.