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sport / / BANG/Kurtenbach: The Spurs put a scare in the Warriors that cannot be brushed aside

o BANG/Kurtenbach: The Spurs put a scare in the Warriors that cannot be brushed asAllen

BANG/Kurtenbach: The Spurs put a scare in the Warriors that cannot be brushed aside


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From: (Allen)
Subject: BANG/Kurtenbach: The Spurs put a scare in the Warriors that cannot be
brushed aside
Date: Sun, 31 Mar 2024 20:20:09 -0700
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 by: Allen - Mon, 1 Apr 2024 03:20 UTC

Kurtenbach: The Spurs put a scare in the Warriors that cannot be brushed
Golden State Warriors: Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and the Warriors
have won four straight games. But the devil is in the details.
>SAN ANTONIO, TX – MARCH 31: Victor Wembanyama #1 of the San Antonio
Spurs dunks over Trayce Jackson-Davis #32 of the Golden State Warriors
in the first half at Frost Bank Center on March 31, 2024 in San Antonio,
Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by
downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to terms
and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald
Cortes/Getty Images)

PUBLISHED: March 31, 2024 at 7:27 p.m. | UPDATED: March 31, 2024 at 7:27

The Warriors won their fourth-straight game on Sunday, and if not for a
28-9 run to start the second half, a brilliant performance from Draymond
Green, a fourth-quarter flurry from Steph Curry, and a clutch 3-pointer
from Klay Thompson, the Warriors would have lost to Victor Wembanyama
and the last-place Spurs.

Alas, it’s not yet Wembanyama’s time. He still has no idea what he’s
doing on the court and he still scored 18 in the fourth quarter. Golden
State won 117-113.

But that infinitely tall 20-year-old French kid in Texas put a solid
scare in the Dubs Sunday. Beating him, and the Spurs took everything the
Dubs had.

Wembanyama’s coming. He’s going to run this league one day. It’s the
most obvious thing I’ve seen in the NBA since LeBron James entered the
league 21 years ago. And that day of reckoning might come sooner than
originally expected.

For the one-time league runners from Golden State — a team that boasts
four Hall of Famers — the push required to win in San Antonio had to hit

Yes, the Warriors have a lot going on these days. Their eyes are occupied.

One is on their daily opponent: Survive and advance. Another is on the
Houston Rockets, who are pushing up on the Dubs from the depths of the
Western Conference. They finally lost Sunday to the Mavericks after an
11-game winning streak.

But if this team has a third eye that’s open, it has to be focused on
the future.

Amid all the half-billion dollar questions the Warriors organization
will have to ask itself this summer, one should loom largest:

How many teams will be better than us in 2024-25?

Sunday’s game with the Spurs should ring alarms. A win is a win — and
winning on the road is nothing to take for granted. We all saw the
Warriors’ 2022-23 season, after all.

But these Spurs are on the rise. They’re crazy young, but after months
of messing around, they’re figuring out how to win. Before the Dubs beat
them Sunday, San Antonio had won three straight — that’s a hell of a run
when you had 15 wins at the start.

With Wembanyama’s limitless talent, it’s fair—perhaps even
self-evident—to suggest that this team could absolutely be a contender
to make the play-in tournament next year.

Oh, and the young, surging Rockets are likely only going to get better, too.

Memphis should have Ja Morant back next season. They should be in the
mix as well.

And which of the nine teams above the Warriors in the standings can you
assuredly say will fade for next season? Minnesota, Oklahoma City, and
the Pelicans seem to only be scratching the surface of their potential.
The Clippers, Nuggets, and Mavericks have great players in their prime
years — they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Sacramento might not
have another level to reach, but they seem stable at their current
status. Phoenix might be a mess, but I doubt they implode. Maybe LeBron
will finally start playing like he’s an old man and take the Lakers down
with him, but are you willing to make that bet? (Plus, a healthy Anthony
Davis is good enough to anchor a team to the postseason.)

Stability, for the most part, is above the Warriors in the standings.
Threats are on the rise from below.

I’m quickly doing the math, and it doesn’t look good for the Warriors.

Even if Portland and Utah continue to rebuild next season — we’ll see —
that’s only two of the Western Conference’s 15 teams that the Warriors
don’t have to consider a threat.

And which way is the Warriors’ arrow pointing?

Even the most optimistic fan cannot suggest its level. At best, it’s
slightly pointed down.

The further away from fandom you go, though, the more downward that
arrow is slanted.

This Dubs team isn’t winning the title this season. Sorry, but it’s not
happening. I’m not sure what you could have seen to make you think
that’s possible.

But the remainder of this Warriors’ season is really about proving that
this team has the foundation to contend for a title next season.

It’s about fending off dramatic change. A “rebuild” might be the wrong
term, but it would be a dramatically different build — perhaps an
unrecognizable one.

After all, it’s a big ask to continue an era that looks bygone. To go
from a No. 10 seed to a title contender would require stasis from the
veterans, dramatic jumps from young players, and a consistent, engaged
Andrew Wiggins. It would also require Warriors ownership to place the
largest bet in NBA history on what is, effectively, the same roster.

Possible? Yes. Probable? No.

The Warriors have eight games remaining this regular season and perhaps
only one more after that. The Dubs’ mandate this final month-plus was to
prove that they had been dramatically underperforming all season and
that they saved their best for last.

This necessary four-game winning streak might suggest that’s the case.

But the devil is in the details, and after a performance like Sunday’s
in San Antonio, it becomes harder to believe that these Warriors are on
the precipice of anything but change.

sport / / BANG/Kurtenbach: The Spurs put a scare in the Warriors that cannot be brushed aside


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