June 13, 2024

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Delicious food

One tough loss not proof Warriors are pastry patsies, main course yet to come

The Cupcake Dilemma was likely to pop up sooner or later, and with the Nuggets averting a sequence sweep Sunday with a slim but tricky-fought earn, the query now hangs in the air.

They will win this sequence, virtually absolutely, since no NBA workforce has at any time won after staying down 3- in a playoff series, but stiffer bodily exams lie ahead, like in Game 5 on Wednesday, and then in the up coming spherical towards Minnesota or Memphis.

There were many factors for the Warriors’ 126-121 decline Sunday, but let’s go to Steve Kerr for a quickie examination:

“They had been the most bodily workforce,” the Warriors’ coach stated. “We did not deserve to get.”

It wasn’t a spectacular butt-kicking. The Warriors essentially outrebounded the Nuggets 36-33 and restricted the Nugs to a mere 5 offensive rebounds. But Kerr felt his crew received out-toughed. That’s dying in the playoffs.

Really don’t believe that Kerr?

“They performed with more pressure, at the two ends of the ground,” Warriors forward Draymond Environmentally friendly reported.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) steals the ball from Denver Nuggets guard Monte Morris in the second half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round Western Conference playoff series Sunday, April 24, 2022, in Denver.

Golden State Warriors ahead Draymond Inexperienced (23) steals the ball from Denver Nuggets guard Monte Morris in the next half of Match 4 of an NBA basketball very first-spherical Western Meeting playoff sequence Sunday, April 24, 2022, in Denver.

David Zalubowski / Related Press

The Cupcake Concern is almost nothing new to the Warriors, or to teams on this still left edge of America. The Showtime Lakers, at the moment featured in a highly fictionalized Television set series, usually fought that rep. Magic and Kareem and the L.A. fellas always appeared to deal with harder, nastier foes. See: Undesirable Boys Pistons, Apparel-lining Celtics.

Funny point, although. People tea-sipping Lakers received five championships and it would have been six if not for a Magic Johnson personal injury.

The Warriors, in their 5-year run to the Finals, normally listened to whispers, and shouts, that they have been tiptoeing through the tulips and would shortly get crushed. It never ever occurred, but it is a concept that some critics, specialists and assorted haters like to pound.

Who can neglect the tombstone cookies LeBron James shared in the Warriors’ honor after his Cavs arrived back again from down 3-1 to gain the title in 2016? Or the cupcakes that turned the NBA image of softness when Kendrick Perkins trolled Kevin Durant for jumping to the Warriors. Who can ignore how previous-faculty know-it-alls scoffed at Stephen Curry’s MVP trophies, saying he would have been torn limb-from-limb in the aged days of “real” basketball.

A ton of that speak is silly bluster and blow again towards a group getting too substantially entertaining for some observers. But the playoffs are a grittier model of ball, and the Warriors do feel to get smaller sized and lighter and extra finesse-y by the day.

Golden State Warriors forward Otto Porter Jr. pursues the ball as it bounds out of play after being lost on an in-bounds pass late in the second half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round Western Conference playoff series against the Denver Nuggets, Sunday, April 24, 2022, in Denver.

Golden Point out Warriors ahead Otto Porter Jr. pursues the ball as it bounds out of enjoy immediately after becoming missing on an in-bounds go late in the next half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball to start with-round Western Meeting playoff sequence from the Denver Nuggets, Sunday, April 24, 2022, in Denver.

David Zalubowski / Related Push

That Cupcake Issue is even extra legit now that the Warriors are from time to time trotting out a new 3-guard lineup, with the evenly nourished Jordan Poole joining Curry and Klay Thompson.

On Sunday, Poole had his initial subpar sport in what would seem like two months, just 11 points. He did have 9 helps and 3 steals, so not a comprehensive slug, but Poole didn’t swing the ball enough when he obtained blitzed, reverting to aged patterns.

“They had been additional physical with (Poole) tonight, for certain,” Kerr explained. Aaron “Gordon bought into him. That should really be envisioned at this stage. Jordan has built a name for himself around the league, and he’s played so effectively, so teams are heading to get started throwing a lot of stuff at him, like physicality and hoping to get beneath his skin a small little bit. So excellent expertise for Jordan, he’s acquired to go as a result of it to truly feel it, and then he’ll answer in Activity 5.”

So if you are hunting for a silver lining, there you go. Some Warriors went to faculty Sunday. Experienced they won, the lessons could possibly not have hit household, and this staff really requires to storm into the upcoming round with an edge and grit.

“This is not the worst thing for us,” Inexperienced stated. “We get much more reps collectively, extra playoff-like reps, so it isn’t all undesirable.”

Curry claimed, “It’s a very good test for us. … It is a reminder of how tricky it is to gain at this amount.”

Curry is braced for the bouncy flights. Sunday he even survived a Nikola Jokic bull rush, where by the Joker attempted to become Curry’s 284-pound backpack. Some Warriors are new to that stage of enjoyable.

Jonathan Kuminga, for case in point. The rookie ahead acquired his initial style of actual playoff depth Sunday. He seemed nervous at very first, then chased away the butterflies with two glowing sprints for fastbreak buckets. He will participate in a even larger part as the playoffs unspool, helping lessen the Warriors’ dimensions and energy downside.

So Sunday was Poole University and Kuminga Higher education.

The going won’t get much easier. Any time the Warriors get forward in a playoff collection, the opposing coach and players generally say they have to have to come out the subsequent video game and punch the Warriors in the mouth, successfully.

No one has sympathy for the seemingly punchable Warriors. Tv enjoy-by-participate in guy Mark Jones commented Sunday on “all the get hold of Jokic has endured in this sequence.” That’s like sympathizing with Mike Tyson for the damage performed to his fists by an airline passenger’s facial area.

The team’s reaction to Sunday’s loss is a excellent signal. It demonstrates that the Warriors are section of the massive team that does not sense sorry for the Warriors. Cookies, any individual?

Scott Ostler is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. Electronic mail: [email protected] Twitter: @scottostler