OAKLAND – Facing something the Warriors hadn’t been forced to endure during their historic run these past five seasons, coach Steve Kerr – as he often does – brought levity. With Klay Thompson injured and potentially having to miss his first playoff game after appearing in each of the last 120, Kerr said, “Klay could be half dead and he would say he would be fine.”
Thompson pushed to play in Game 3 at Oracle Arena with the series tied 1-1. He made a “very strong case,” as Kerr called it before the game. Ultimately the decision was made to keep him out and not risk injuring the hamstring further and potentially cost Golden State much more than the one game they did indeed drop.
With the Warriors trailing 2-1 and the health of two of their stars still in question, Kerr’s phrasing after Game 2 about Klay still stuck out. For these Warriors, the second their dynasty was born it was also “half dead.” Every second it fights like hell to remain, it succeeds. That’s led to three titles and five straight Finals appearances. That’s led to the ability to win 73 regular season games and a 3-1 lead to blow in the first place. That’s led to the appropriately named “Death Lineup” being spawned to destroy basketball as we know it. That’s led to signing Kevin Durant, him winning two Finals MVPs, and the joy and friction that have been dragged kicking and screaming into a potentially franchise-defining free agency in 2019.
No dynasty can live forever. The sheer fact that dynasties have an expiration date is what makes them noble and worth celebrating. Someone, somewhere, will always try to take down those at the top. A new scramble for power will emerge. Stories will be rewritten, potential new dynasties built, and the cycle will continue. While inside a dynasty, especially one as strong as the Warriors, it may seem as though every attempt to topple it is futile, but it’s in human nature to try, to rail against the inevitable and see what happens.
“No one cares if guys are hurt,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said after Game 3. “Everybody wants to see us lose.”