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A look at just how dominant the Golden State Warriors have been

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Spoiler alert: they’ve been REALLY dominant.

2018 NBA Finals - Game Four Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Steve Kerr took over as the head coach of the Golden State Warriors from Mark Jackson in 2014. The previous season, Jackson led the Dubs to a 51-31 season, the 6th seed in the West, and a first round loss to the Clippers (the first year of Lob City under new coach, Doc Rivers). In 2014-15, the Warriors went 67-15 and won the NBA Finals. This became a habit.

Since Steve Kerr took over the team, the Warriors have gone 265-63 over four seasons, they’ve won three NBA Championships, and had the best single season record in history, 73-9 (the only season they also lost the Finals, heh heh heh!). They’ve also only faced LeBron and his Cleveland Cavaliers in those Finals, which will be impossible this year. For as weird and magnificent as the Kerr Warriors have been, LeBron has been nearly as weird and magnificent. It seems insane that he’s met the Dubs four times in a row, and with somewhat subpar teams, when compared to the Heatles and the Warriors themselves. Regardless, odds are the Cavs won’t face the Dubs in the NBA Finals this year.

Golden State can make history this year if they win another title. They’ll be only the third time in NBA history, and the only team since the ABA/NBA merger in 1976, to win four NBA Finals in five years. Not even the Showtime Lakers or MJ’s Bulls did that. If the Dubs win it all again this year, it won’t be incorrect to say that they’re the best team since Bill Russell’s Celtics, and the best modern team, overall.

The 1980s saw the Lakers and Celtics win 8 of the 10 titles; Philadelphia won in 1983 and the Bad Boys Pistons won in 1989 (and, 1990, NBD). It’s not incorrect to call LA and Boston the best teams since the 1960s Celtics, but, they traded on and off, and the Lakers only (ha, “only”) went back-to-back once. MJ’s Bulls took a two season hiatus in the mid-90s, but they had two three-peats and set the single season record (before the Warriors took it). It’s not incorrect to call MJ’s Bulls the best team since Russell’s Celtics, either.

But, none of them positively dominated in the way the Warriors have since 2014. There are plenty of teams that have won 60 games (over 60 of them, I believe), but no one, NO ONE, has gone four of five since 1966. Do you know how long ago that was? In 1966, there wasn’t any Internet, there were no cell phones, the NBA and the ABA hadn’t yet merged, nor had the AFL-NFL merger occurred (though it was agreed to in 1966). There were 20 teams in major league baseball. Bobby effing Orr debuted in 1966 in an NHL that had six teams. TOTAL.

(Here’s a good one: 1966 is so long ago, that it’s one year prior to the NCAA banning the slam dunk. College basketball made slam dunks illegal. From 1967 to 1976, the Lew Alcindor Rule forbade players from dunking the basketball in college hoops. Who’s Lew Alcindor? He’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of, if not the, most important basketball players in history. Why’d the NCAA ban the dunk? Because Kareem was too good at it, and he was showing all the white boys up. Thank God racial discrimination is no longer prevalent in the NCAA or pro sports.)

It’s been a longass time since a team kicked ass like the Warriors are kicking ass. But, who’s been kicking their asses? I mean, it’s happened: they’ve lost 63 times since 2014. Let’s go through those losses and see if we can find anything that might even begin to approximate a notion of whether the Warriors have a weakness (other than LeBron and Fate).

Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets - Game Five Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In those 4 seasons, Golden State has lost 21 times at home in the regular season, and to 16 different teams. Only Boston, Houston, Team X, San Antonio, and Utah have defeated the Warriors at home more than once during that time, and NO ONE has beaten the Warriors three times at home in regular season games since 2014.

The Warriors haven’t lost, at all, in the regular season to the following teams: the New York Knicks (gasp!), the Orlando Magic (shock!), the Philadelphia 76ers (whoa, really?), and the Toronto Raptors (huh). You might notice that Team X is not on this list. Can you guess who it is?

This team has beaten the Warriors THREE TIMES in the past four seasons, and twice in Oakland. Team X hasn’t won 40 games since 2005-06 (George W. Bush was still President of the United States) and is 122-207 since 2014-15. Team X has beaten the Warriors 109-106 (Warriors were on the road), 110-106 (Warriors were at home), and 98-93 (Warriors were at home).

Team X is the Sacramento Kings. One of the most potent anti-Warriors squads we’ve ever seen. They’re on a par with the Blazers, the Thunder, and the Rockets! Someone short the Dubs versus the Sad Sacs this season, cuz that’s some foundass money! Over one-third of the NBA hasn’t been able to defeat the Warriors more than once in the past 4 years, and the Sacramento Mother-Effing Kings ain’t one of ‘em. Doesn’t that make your heart soar? Don’t you feel fresher now, emboldened, alive with the power of possibility? Anything can happen! The goddamn Kings prove it!

The playoffs are a bit different since the Dubs only played 16 series in that four year span, but here are the numbers: the Golden State Warriors have 5 sweeps in 16 series. They’ve only one loss, obviously, so they’re 15 of 16 in series, and, as we said earlier, they’re 63-20 overall in playoff games.

Teams that slow the game down (aside from the Nuggets) fare better against the Dubs. Opponents try to limit the number of possessions, so that weird stuff can happen, and the Warriors’ edge in efficiency isn’t as pronounced. 32 of the Warriors’ 63 regular season losses have seen the Dubs score 100 points or fewer; 13 of 20 playoff losses have seen likewise, 100 points or fewer. The Cavs famously, or infamously, defeated the Warriors in the 2015-16 NBA Finals because they slowed the pace (and, Draymond got himself DQ’ed for kicking LeBron in the balls). And, because LeBron is a miracle, and Kyrie, and KLove, obviously.

Last season, Houston almost beat the Warriors by playing intense defense and trying their luck with a barrage of threes. EVERYTHING has to go right in order for that to strategy to work, especially if you’re not limiting possessions or getting the Warriors’ stars in foul trouble. You can’t go cold from deep, which is exactly what happened, and contributed to the Rockets’ loss more than CP3’s injury (though that’s kind of a chicken and egg thing). A team like Memphis can beat you in slowass molasses games during the regular season, but it doesn’t win you a 7 game series in the playoffs.

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Six Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Warriors are elite-elite. This we know, but perhaps the numbers above will help articulate to you just how dominant they’ve been. They lose games to Sacramento because, “Jesus, man, do we really have to take Sacramento seriously? Can’t we just take this game off and let the other dudes play?” The Warriors care so little for the Kings that they don’t even care if they lose to them. THAT’S dominance.

There are those who hate on the Warriors, and accuse them of being bad for basketball, or that they’re cheating by having so many good players.

But, those haters are fundamentally misreading the situation. The Warriors have done EXACTLY what you want teams to do! They drafted Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Andre Iguodala was a free agent acquisition the year before Steve Kerr got to Golden State. Kevin Durant is the ONLY big star free agent they’ve signed (before an injured Boogie Cousins this year). This is how you want teams to behave.

The Warriors are a model franchise, and people think they’re ruining basketball. Kevin Durant should have gone to a worse team? With a worse front office? Or, he should have gone to a different team, like the Celtics, or the Heat, or the Bulls, or the goddamn Lakers, teams that already have plenty of stars in their history and plenty of rings?

This is a column about losses, and how few the Warriors have had over the past 4 seasons. But, it’s really about the sore losers, because you never hear the Dubs complaining about other teams cheating in order to beat them. The Warriors don’t bemoan the state of affairs if they lose; the other 29 teams should take a lesson from that. After all, those are the 29 teams who didn’t want Steph, Klay, or Dray in the first place.

Warriors Regular Season Losses since 2014-15

GAME DATE HOME/AWAY OPPONENT OPPONENT SCORE WARRIORS SCORE OTHER
GAME DATE HOME/AWAY OPPONENT OPPONENT SCORE WARRIORS SCORE OTHER
1 11/9/14 AT PHOENIX 107 95
2 11/11/14 HOME SAN ANTONIO 113 100
3 12/16/14 AT MEMPHIS 105 98
4 12/23/14 AT LAKERS 115 105
5 12/25/14 AT CLIPPERS 100 86
6 1/16/14 AT OKC 127 115
7 1/27/15 HOME CHICAGO 113 111
8 1/30/15 AT UTAH 110 100
9 2/6/15 AT ATLANTA 124 116
10 2/22/15 AT INDIANA 104 98
11 2/26/15 AT CLEVELAND 110 99
12 3/2/15 AT BROOKLYN 110 98
13 3/13/15 AT DENVER 114 103
14 4/5/15 AT SAN ANTONIO 107 92
15 4/7/15 AT NEW ORLEANS 103 100
16 12/12/15 AT MILWAUKEE 108 95
17 12/30/15 AT DALLAS 114 91
18 1/13/16 AT DENVER 112 110
19 1/16/16 AT DETROIT 113 95
20 2/19/16 AT PORTLAND 137 105
21 3/6/16 AT LAKERS 112 95
22 3/19/16 AT SAN ANTONIO 87 79
23 4/1/16 HOME BOSTON 109 106
24 4/5/16 HOME MINNESOTA 124 117
25 10/25/16 HOME SAN ANTONIO 129 100 1st GAME OF SEASON
26 11/4/16 AT LAKERS 117 97
27 12/1/16 HOME HOUSTON 132 127
28 12/10/16 AT MEMPHIS 110 89
29 12/25/16 AT CLEVELAND 109 108
30 1/6/17 HOME MEMPHIS 128 119
31 1/23/17 AT MIAMI 105 102
32 2/4/17 AT SACRAMENTO 109 106 WTF!!!
33 2/13/17 AT DENVER 132 110
34 2/28/17 AT WASHINGTON 112 108
35 3/2/17 AT CHICAGO 94 87
36 3/8/17 HOME BOSTON 99 86
37 3/10/17 AT MINNESOTA 103 102
38 3/11/17 AT SAN ANTONIO 107 85
39 4/10/17 HOME UTAH 105 99
40 10/17/17 HOME HOUSTON 122 121 1st GAME OF SEASON
41 10/21/17 AT MEMPHIS 111 101
42 10/29/17 HOME DETROIT 115 107 HELL YEAH!
43 11/16/17 AT BOSTON 92 88
44 11/22/17 AT OKC 108 91
45 11/27/17 HOME SACRAMENTO 110 106 WTF!!!
46 12/23/17 HOME DENVER 96 81
47 12/29/17 HOME CHARLOTTE 111 100
48 1/10/18 HOME CLIPPERS 125 106 4th HOME LOSS IN A ROW
49 1/20/18 AT HOUSTON 116 108
50 1/30/18 AT UTAH 129 99
51 2/3/18 AT DENVER 115 108
52 2/6/18 HOME OKC 125 105
53 2/14/18 AT PORTLAND 123 117
54 3/9/18 AT PORTLAND 125 108
55 3/11/18 AT MINNESOTA 109 103
56 3/16/18 HOME SACRAMENTO 98 93 WTF!!!
57 3/19/18 AT SAN ANTONIO 89 75
58 3/25/18 HOME UTAH 110 91
59 3/27/18 HOME INDIANA 92 81
60 3/29/18 HOME MILWAUKEE 116 107
61 4/5/18 AT INDIANA 126 106
62 4/7/18 HOME NEW ORLEANS 126 120
63 4/10/18 AT UTAH 119 79
Warriors Regular Season Losses

Warriors Playoff Losses since 2014-15

2014-15 ROUND 2 GAME 2 HOME MEMPHIS 97 90
2014-15 ROUND 2 GAME 2 HOME MEMPHIS 97 90
2014-15 ROUND 2 GAME 3 AT MEMPHIS 99 89
2014-15 WESTERN FINALS GAME 4 AT HOUSTON 128 115
2014-15 FINALS GAME 2 HOME CLEVELAND 95 93
2014-15 FINALS GAME 3 AT CLEVELAND 96 91
2015-16 ROUND 1 GAME 3 AT HOUSTON 97 96
2015-16 ROUND 2 GAME 3 AT PORTLAND 120 108
2015-16 WESTERN FINALS GAME 1 HOME OKC 108 102
2015-16 WESTERN FINALS GAME 3 AT OKC 133 105
2015-16 WESTERN FINALS GAME 4 AT OKC 118 94
2015-16 FINALS GAME 3 AT CLEVELAND 120 90
2015-16 FINALS GAME 5 HOME CLEVELAND 112 97
2015-16 FINALS GAME 6 AT CLEVELAND 115 101
2015-16 FINALS GAME 7 HOME CLEVELAND 93 89
2016-17 FINALS GAME 4 AT CLEVELAND 137 116
2017-18 ROUND 1 GAME 4 AT SAN ANTONIO 103 90
2017-18 ROUND 2 GAME 3 AT NEW ORLEANS 119 100
2017-18 WESTERN FINALS GAME 2 AT HOUSTON 127 105
2017-18 WESTERN FINALS GAME 4 HOME HOUSTON 95 92
2017-18 WESTERN FINALS GAME 5 AT HOUSTON 98 94