Expert NBA Betting Advice: How to Wager the Golden State Warriors with Injuries
It barely seems possible, but the Golden State Warriors are showing signs of, dare I say it, mortality, as the playoffs near. Long viewed as inevitable champions, the team suddenly can't stay healthy at a time when James Harden is playing out of his mind to lead Houston to the top seed in the West, in all likelihood, and Toronto is getting feisty in the East. The Warriors are still serious favorites to win the title - they are below even money at -110 at BetOnline . But as incredibly low as that price is, it has still drifted up in recent weeks while Houston has fallen and is now at +225. Is it actually possible that Golden State could be beaten? Could they be betrayed by their own bodies?
The list of injuries is both long and concerning. Steph Curry rolled his ankle on March 8 and is going to ease back into duty. It would be easy to feel good about his long-term prospects if that wasn't the fourth ankle injury he has suffered this season alone. Kevin Durant fractured a rib on March 11, foolishly played on March 14, and reaggravated the injury. He's out until early April. And Klay Thompson fractured his thumb on the same day as Durant was initially hurt, and he could be out for a while, too. Whether you have watched the Warriors closely or not this year, you surely know that those three guys are relatively central to what this team does and that they would be much easier to beat if one or more of them was unavailable or below 100 percent in the playoffs than if they were all healthy and ready.
There are, of course, plenty of reasons to remain optimistic about the team:
Time: This happened far enough away from the start of the playoffs that all three have time to get back and get healthy before they begin. And Durant and Thompson both have the types of injuries that don't typically linger -- bones heal and guys get better. It takes time in both cases, and they have time. Curry is a bit more concerning because he has notoriously had weak ankles, and the problems keep recurring. He'll have time to get through this, though, and the fact is that that is always an issue for him and his role on this team - one they just have to cope with.
Experience: The core of this team has been here before, so they know what it takes to win, and they have faced adversity heading into the playoffs before and come out the other side just fine. They have the lessons of past success to draw on far more than any other team in the playoffs, and that is a huge asset.
Zen approach: They aren't going to finish first, but they have been fine with that for a long time. They learned the hard way a couple of years back that you don't win titles in the regular season, so they have been more focused than ever this year on just doing what it takes during the season to get ready for the playoffs. They have been totally unconcerned with finishing first. They don't fear playing on the road, and they know that the path to the finals goes through Houston inevitably, so they want to be ready for that series and don't really seem to care where the series starts. A lot of teams will say such things after a race tilts away from them, but in the case of the Warriors it has felt all year like the regular season is just an afterthought - like an extended preseason before things really matter. As long as that attitude is sincere then there's no reason for them to really panic about these injuries now because it is irrelevant. They will play two series at home and then play Houston for the Western crown, and nothing will change that.
But if there is a reason for concern it's just depth. This is not a team that shoots nearly as well or runs as deep as prior versions of the Warriors have. And the three guys who are hurt are all, needless to say, pretty good shooters who play a pretty big role in the offense here. The team can weather days off from any of them - even in the playoffs - but an extended absence, or lingering ineffectiveness, would be hard to replace,. And that could open the door for the Rockets. That being stated, I don't think the Warriors are losing - but the margin for error has certainly shrunk.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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