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With Klay Thompson finally back in form, Warriors' 'Death Squad' is complete


PhilBoxing.com





When Kevin Durant signed with the Golden State Warriors in 2017, nights like Monday are the ones other NBA teams feared. They had reasons to be scared. As soon as the former Oklahoma City Thunder forward put on Warriors? golden jersey and shorts, Steph Curry and teammates won back-to-back titles.

And the Warriors are seeking a three-peat in this, the NBA?s 2K19 season. The more the opposition are terrified of waking up, looking out their windows and seeing a post-apocalyptic landscape in which the Dubs laid waste the enemies with a full compliment of Hall-of-Famers.

If the start to the current season is any indication, the Warriors may finally be making those nightmares come true.

Against the Bulls on Monday, in a 149?124 triumph, Klay Thompson scored 52 points...on 29 shots...hitting an NBA record 14 threes...in only 27 minutes. That?s what you expect when you set 2K to the lowest difficulty setting and see how many points you can score with one person to help get your mind off a breakup.

Only a week back, it was Curry himself who, heaved from beyond the arc, muscled his way inside the paint and went perfect from the line for 50 markers. You see, the Warriors aren?t only special because of their egalitarian attack. They can kill you with Curry and Durant each going for 30 points per outing. What makes them even more lethal is that players like Curry and Durant are willing to do the dirty work?set screens, whip the ball around the perimeter?to help their other legendary teammates go off. Even with his own record about the fall, Curry was still setting picks with vigor to free up Klay.

Thompson needed a night like Monday night. He entered against the Bulls shooting only 5-of-36 on threes for the season, or a 14% conversion rate on shots from downtown. He shot 58% on threes against Chicago alone, nearly tripling his season output in under three quarters.

It was a sorry sight watching the Bulls try to stop Thompson. He received open look after open look. When it was clear breaking the record was reachable, the Warriors stopped pretending they would run their normal offense. The goal became to get Klay the ball on nearly every possession.

No one should blame Chicago?s defense though. Who wants to defend Curry, was helping Klay off his guard? Do you want to be the defender who sags on Durant in anticipation of a feed to Thompson? The Warriors left the Bulls with no options...but still, maybe after the 20th three-point attempt, you try to let someone else beat you?

Golden State already seemed to be embracing their juggernaut mentality through the season?s first seven games. The Warriors were having fun, and we?re seeing their most consistent effort to dominate since Durant joined the team. The only thing holding the Dubs back?was Klay, hadn?t been his usual self to start this year. But Kerr said he was expecting a night like Monday night sooner rather than later, and now that it?s here, No one?s sure any other team in the league has a recourse for an MVP-level Steph, averaging 30+ Durant, and Hot Klay.

This is what it looks like when the Warriors are committed to playing to their best. One night, like the night before Klay?s explosion, Curry and Durant may decide to each go off for 30. The next, they may leverage their offensive gravity so Thompson can approximate basketball version of rain man.

Meanwhile, they?re going to develop guys like Alfonzo McKinnie and Jordan Bell. A month from now, the four All-Stars in the lineup may all play decoy so Boogie Cousins can prove to everyone why he?s one of the league?s best centers. And don?t want to forget Draymond Green. He, too, was instrumental in letting Klay cook Monday.


Thompson?s 52 wasn?t just about him breaking out of his slump. Fans seen that before. There are nights when his Bullet Time meter never depletes and there?s no defense on earth that can stop him. Thompson?s Monday night heroics showed what the Warriors can do when they are singularly focused on maximizing their talent on a night-to-night basis, and not taking a long-term view about saving it for the postseason.

The NBA isn?t even a month into the season and we?ve already seen top-level performances from Curry, Durant and Thompson. The Bay Area dribblers appear to be fully living up to the hype placed on them in 2016, and at a more sustained level than we?ve seen in the past, at least during the regular season, and certainly never this early. We don?t even need to discuss what that means for the rest of the league. It?s the same as what they feared the moment this team was put together.

The Dubs can be beaten once, twice or even thrice a week. That?s how the opposition prepared themselves during off season, but they?re a team made up of players who don?t aspire for individual honors like triple-double average or even the MVP. They play not for their own personal glory ---- but win the championship for the team. That?s what differ them from the others.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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