The Warriors are a very successful NBA basketball team. You may have heard they just finished the greatest regular season in NBA history. So it’s only natural some are going to question how in the world they’ve achieved so much success. Some will even claim the Warriors are skirting the rules in their march towards a second consecutive championship parade.
After the Rockets lost to a Warriors team — without presumptive repeat MVP Steph Curry — on Monday to go down 2-0 in their opening round series, it was only natural they would join the chorus of the crowd who thinks the Warriors are setting illegal picks.
Here’s how James Harden described it:
And while Dwight Howard didn’t explicitly call the Warriors out for their screens, he did complain that he would be whistled if he played with the same “physicality” of the Dubs.
Leave it to Dwight to make it about himself.
More immaturity from one of Houston’s superstars notwithstanding, it certainly bears mentioning that players and coaches – hi, Stan Van Gundy! – make a habit of publicly complaining about supposedly illegal play from their opponents during the playoffs. Why? Officials are bound to pay special attention to the incidents in question; it’s simple human nature.
But the pleading nature of the appeal from Houston’s on-court leaders felt more akin to whining than the histrionics Stan deliberately employed after losing Game 1 against Cleveland (LeBron got called for an offensive foul in the third quarter, but it’s not clear if Stan’s complaints played a role).
While we don’t think the Warriors are doing anything more underhanded or nefarious than any of the equally-as-cagy screeners out there*, it wouldn’t even matter if we did agree with that mistaken accusation. Because Dwight and James are playing the blame game like they’re complaining to mom about their friends after breaking the window next to the driveway with their basketball. The Rockets’ locker room is a middle school cafeteria with insecurity hanging in the air and damaged egos lashing out instead of the self-reflection necessary to co-exist on a team of individuals. In short, they just aren’t fun to be around as a group.
But at least one Rocket — a title-winning member of their squad, in fact — “loves” how the Warriors blockade opponents.
The other Jet is a veteran of 17 NBA season and won a ring with the Mavericks in 2011 after famously tattooing Larry O’Brien to his arm the summer before. The premise failed to work with the Boston Celtics, but he’s still an old hand at this whole NBA thing and his opinion of the Warriors matters.
We’re glad he gets it, too. Because that statement of love means he’s taking full ownership for Houston’s first two losses in the series, just like he took full ownership after permanently inking that title-loving Leprechaun to his arm when he signed in Boston.
*Kevin Garnett used to be one of the best in the league; Udonis Haslem knocked a bunch of guys on their ass as they were sidestepping to stay with D-Wade and LeBron during those title-winning Heat squads; and Tim Duncan has to be on our screening Mount Rushmore.