Warriors

Warriors

In 2015, the Warriors won their first NBA title in 40 years.

They knocked off the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round, the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference semifinals, the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference finals and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

“You need luck in the West,” LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers told ESPN's Zach Lowe (who was working for Grantland.com) in October 2015. “Look at Golden State. They didn’t have to play us or the (San Antonio) Spurs.

"But that’s also a lesson for us: When you have a chance to close, you have to do it.”

Golden State didn't face either team because the Clippers knocked off the Spurs in seven games in the opening round, and then infamously blew a three-games-to-one series lead to the Rockets in the West semis.

It was a very unnecessary comment at the time, and didn't sit well with the Warriors or their fans.

Now, let's fast forward to present day.

Rockets guard Austin Rivers hosts a podcast named "Go Off." And he recently asked his dad, Doc, if he believes there will be an asterisk next to this year's championship (assuming the season resumes) because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I don't think people care about asterisks who win," Doc said. "Of course they are (going to say there is an asterisk). We did play 70 games already (66, actually). Somebody may get injured or something so that's an asterisk. But you can do that with any champion. 'They won because this guy got hurt.' When you win the title, you win it.

 

"Everybody else had the same playing field that you had. Whoever wins it this year, they're gonna earn it. There are no free championships given in the NBA. There are not."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Well, well, well.

To channel my inner Warriors forward Draymond Green: "Interesting explanation, Glenn."

Is Doc getting out in front of this now because he knows what people will say if the Clippers -- one of the favorites for sure -- win it all?

In his defense, he didn't specifically say that the Warriors' 2015 championship deserved an asterisk. In fact, he clarified his remarks a couple days later by saying: "No, I don’t think the Warriors were lucky to win. I think they deserved to win. I wish we could have played them, but they still were the best team. They earned it.”

If this was his original comment to Lowe, nobody would have made a big deal about anything and you wouldn't be reading this right now. But the damage already had been done, especially when you remember that plenty of people in the basketball world said the Warriors were "lucky" that Kyrie Irving hurt his knee in Game 1 of The Finals and that the Cavs already were without Kevin Love.

Also, it didn't help Doc's cause that the Warriors had beaten the Clippers three out of four times during the 2014-15 regular season. But let's move on.

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Lastly, Doc told Austin how the Clippers will celebrate if they capture the Larry O'Brien Trophy this summer.

"We're gonna have a parade, we're gonna have a big trophy in our case and we're gonna get rings," he said. "On Opening Night the next year, we're gonna let the banner go down.

"Whoever wins it, wins it."

Duly noted.

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