The Warriors cruised through the 2017 playoffs, amassing a 16-1 record en route to capturing the NBA title.
They were the overwhelming favorites to win the championship again in 2018. And although they did repeat as champions, they were pushed to the brink in the Western Conference finals against the Houston Rockets.
In 2019, the Rockets had a great chance to eliminate Golden State in the Western Conference semifinals, but missed a golden opportunity.
"Houston almost beating Golden State those two years, that's almost as big an accomplishment -- or better -- than Golden State winning," Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash said last week on "The Old Man & the Three" podcast. "Before those seasons, it was like, 'There's no way anyone is gonna beat Golden State.' "
"We lose sight sometimes of the context in that not everyone can win. Some things have to fall into place to win that the winning team didn't necessarily count on, or do anything extra to create."
JJ Redick then offered his perspective.
"Daryl Morey and Houston deserve a lot of credit, because when Kevin (Durant) signed with Golden State there was a sense that a number of teams sort of were unwilling to go for it -- 'We'll just wait this out,' " he explained. "To his credit, and to the Rockets credit, they swung for the fences.
"They were up 3-2 the first year and Chris (Paul) gets hurt at the end of Game 5."
The hamstring injury to Paul certainly was unfortunate timing for the Rockets. On the flip side, people tend to forget that Andre Iguodala sustained a "spider fracture" in his left knee late in the Warriors' blowout victory in Game 3, and missed the rest of the series. His absence had a big impact on the Warriors.
Steve Kerr and Iguodala both believe the Warriors win that series in five games if the 2015 NBA Finals MVP didn't get hurt.
But let's not digress.
The overall point here is that the comments from Nash and Redick are fair, and the Rockets do deserve credit for significantly challenging the Warriors.
But we live in a world where people focus on Houston in 2018 missing 27 straight 3-pointers in Game 7, and Houston coming up short in 2019 when the Dubs were missing Kevin Durant (and DeMarcus Cousins).
That, too, is understandable.