Heisler: Warriors just another contender in loaded West

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first_imgNow, infuriatingly, all the Warriors hear are congratulations on their rare good fortune, a form of condescension, as if patting children who were allowed to stay up past their bedtime — last season — on the head.“I kind of want to just say, I apologize for us being healthy,” said Steph Curry at practice last week.“I apologize for us playing who was in front of us. I apologize for all the accolades we’ve received as a team and individually. I’m very truly sorry. We’ll rectify that situation this year.”Steph, of course, is their waif-sized superstar who can joke about it.“It’s like a bitter female,” said Draymond Green, the rough-and-tumble Warrior with the attitude. “Like, you ever dealt with a bitter female that’s just scorned?“God! That’s rough. When you’re dealing with a bitter female that’s scorned, that’s one of the worst things in the world.”Of course, if insults are where you find them, that seems to be everywhere the Warriors look.Take Houston, where newly arrived Ty Lawson noted that Curry “was just chillin’ on defense” in the West Finals victory over the Rockets — which, of course, wouldn’t have happened with Ty there, according to Ty — and James Harden’s continuing insistence he deserved the MVP that went to Curry.With a preseason West Finals replay last week in Oakland, the Rockets left Harden, Lawson, Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, Jason Terry and Donatas Motiejunas at home.Of course, before everyone decided that they were a bunch of cocky big-talking newcomers, opposing teams said the same thing about the Clippers.What opposing teams really don’t like is that Golden State won, and they didn’t.As for real issues, the Warriors don’t have any, so they don’t figure to be going away.If they were in the East, they could coast in from opening night, but they’re in the West where they’ll have to beat out the reloaded Spurs with LaMarcus Aldridge; the revamped Clippers with Paul Pierce, Josh Smith and Lance Stephenson; the rehabbed Thunder with Kevin Durant back, the 56-win Rockets, the 55-win Grizzlies and any other teams that put it together.If everything went right a year ago, Steve Kerr, who presided over this miracle as a rookie coach, will miss the preseason following back surgery.With his No. 1 lieutenant, Alvin Gentry, now coaching New Orleans, that puts even less experienced Luke Walton in charge.The Warriors were so impressive in last fall’s preseason, even Rivers, their nemesis, said he knew they had something lasting.This fall they started 1-2 and Green noted, passionately if not arithmetically, “We’ve had three games and I don’t think neither one of them has been us.”It’s just the preseason so no biggie, but the real deal looms when heaven’s gift to last season is just another West contender. All the Warriors accomplished was yesterday, but yesterday’s gone. “You need luck in the West. Look at Golden State. They didn’t have to play us or the Spurs.”Not that the Clippers were the Spurs, either, but they did beat them in last spring’s first round.Unfortunately for the Clips, they blew that 19-point lead when they were about to close out the Rockets in six games and went down the drain in Game 7.If the Warriors were a rude shock to the old elite teams, they were also a breath of fresh air, or a gift from heaven.They put on a nightly fireworks show with their deadeye backcourt of the ages, finishing No. 1 in offense at 110 points a game, 3.3 more than the No. 2 Clippers; went 67-15 to win the West by 11 games, then helped draw the highest Finals TV ratings since Michael Jordan’s Bulls while polishing off the wounded Cavaliers in six games. Uneasy is the head that wears the crown, especially in the NBA’s Western Conference, where crowned heads like those of the Warriors are often soon lopped off.Aside from the Spurs and Lakers, no team has come out of the West draw in back-to-back seasons in 20 years.The Lakers, of course, haven’t done it lately and, as people keep telling the Warriors, they’re not the Spurs.As Clippers coach Doc Rivers told Grantland:center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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