Warriors

The beauty in Warriors being NBA's biggest villains again

Warriors
Steph Curry Draymond Green

From opening the season with wins over the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers to blowing out the Brooklyn Nets a month later and having their way with the Phoenix Suns in their second chance against the reigning Western Conference champs, it has been clear that Warriors basketball is back. 

Steph Curry again has been playing like an NBA MVP for the second straight season, Draymond Green looks like the version of himself that won the 2016-17 Defensive Player of the Year and multiple players off the bench can step up on any given night. Want to know how the Warriors are really back, though? Just look at what Doc Rivers said to his team on Saturday before and after the Warriors fell to his Philadelphia 76ers, 102-93. 

"I asked them after the game, 'Are you not entertained?' I told our guys before the game, this is our home floor and you felt like Maximus," Rivers said to reporters. "Everybody came here to see something else other than the home team. I told our guys they should think about that when they go out on the floor." 

That something else that Rivers is referring to is, of course, Curry. Like so many other Warriors opponents this season, whether at home in San Francisco or on the road, Curry is the coming attraction. The home team much of the time is second fiddle to Steph and his Warriors teammates. 

 

And Golden State's opponents already are sick of it. 

The Warriors once again are the NBA's biggest villains, even with the lovable Curry and the eventual return of Klay Thompson, who might be the most universally liked athlete on the planet right now. That's beautiful for the Warriors and the entire NBA, too. 

Right before the season opener this year, Green admitted to The Ringer's Logan Murdock that he wasn't interested in the 2019-20 season when the Warriors dealt with injuries and had the NBA's worst record with only 15 wins. Fast forward to Saturday night, and look at the difference in Draymond's mindset. 

After the loss, Green admitted that this is starting to feel like Golden State's run of five straight NBA Finals appearances when all eyes were on them in and out of the arena. 

"Yeah, you start to feel that," Green said. "You show up before a game for shooting and the crowd's already packed. The attention around the team, you definitely start to feel that. 

"Feels a little familiar." 

Curry entered Saturday night needing 10 3-pointers to break Ray Allen's career regular-season record. Rivers deployed defensive star Matisse Thybulle on Curry and the plan certainly worked. Curry struggled from deep for the second straight game, going just 3-for-14 from beyond the arc. Thybulle and the rest of his Sixers teammates clearly took it personal that fans flocked early to Wells Fargo Center covered in Warriors gear and holding signs for Curry trying to make history. 

"[Joel Embiid] and I talked today during shootaround and he said 'We're not letting it happen in our house,' " Thybulle told ABC's Lisa Salters after the game. "So I took it upon myself to make sure it didn't."

As the 76ers were laser-focused on Curry, his Warriors teammates failed to come through, even when given wide-open opportunities. No bench player scored more than Otto Porter Jr.'s five points, but Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins did take advantage of being forgotten. 

The two combined for 43 points, and Poole led the Warriors with 23 points. 

"We were so focused on Steph, that we didn't put enough attention on him, honestly," Rivers said. "And he got it going, he was on fire." 

Thanks to Curry's mere presence on the floor, opportunities will continue to come for other Warriors. They just have to take advantage of it. 

But think about that: The 76ers entered Saturday night just 14-12, which is much worse than their preseason expectations. Still, stopping Curry from breaking a record was nearly as important as beating the Warriors, who came into the night with the NBA's best record. The same can be said for the Indiana Pacers when the Warriors play them on Monday. Where else are you going to find that? 

 

Not with the Lakers, not with the Nets. Nowhere else. That's the answer. 

RELATED: Why Warriors shouldn't rest Steph vs. Pacers on Monday

Soon, Steph will get his fellow Splash Brother back in Thompson. It will be all flowers and sunshine, laughing and smiling at Klay's many Instagram Live expeditions on his boat. But in the blink of an eye, the league will be back to finding any slips in the cracks of the Warriors. That includes with Klay, too.

Get ready for it. Those like Green who have seen it, know the drill. The newcomers are getting used to it, and will need it to be secondhand normalcy in a hurry. Just like that, the Warriors are villains once again. 

Are you not entertained?

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