Warriors riding rocky road on path to three-peat

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While the Golden State Warriors have meandered through an up-and-down season, head coach Steve Kerr’s message to his team has remained consistent: Winning a championship is difficult. Attempting to go to five straight NBA Finals is an arduous road not for the faint of heart. Trying to win an NBA championship for the fourth time in five years? The process is much more challenging than most understand.

As the Warriors try to add to the list of incredible feats they’ve already accomplished, Kerr’s message has proved prescient. The coach understood from the beginning that winning another title was never going to be as simple as running out an All-Star-laden lineup while adding DeMarcus Cousins to the mix. The basketball lifer knew that the process would be more arduous, but it would be worth it come June. nike

“When you go through the difficulty, it makes things that much sweeter in the end,” Kerr said. “And so it’s not just the idea of getting a ring, hanging a banner. It’s the memory of all that went into it. You put a lot of effort in to achieve that. And it’s a lot more than a ring or a banner signifies. It’s what you know you had to endure.”8

As the Warriors get set for another showdown against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night, they do so having endured one of the most intriguing seasons in recent memory, a season cloaked in drama and subplots that have tested the fabric of a proud team, starting from the very beginning.

The Warriors opened their final regular season at Oracle Arena in style with a win over Kevin Durant’s old team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. But that wasn’t the most memorable moment from the night.

As has been an ongoing theme since before the season began, Durant’s future with the Warriors hovered over everything — even in celebration. As Warriors owner Joe Lacob handed Durant his new ring, cameras caught him motioning to Durant to sign a contract extension with a big smile on his face. Durant, who was introduced last to the crowd, a spot usually reserved for Stephen Curry, smiled back but downplayed the placement of his introduction after the game. The tenor for the rest of the season was set in that moment: The Warriors want to make Durant feel as comfortable as possible and are hopeful he will decide to re-sign after the season, but nobody in the organization knows for sure what he will decide to do.

As the season got rolling, both Curry and Klay Thompson offered early reminders of just how much talent Kerr has at his disposal. Curry scored 51 points and knocked down 11 3-pointers in just 32 minutes in a win over the Washington Wizards on Oct. 24. Thompson followed that up less than a week later by draining a league record 14 3-pointers and scoring 52 points in 27 minutes in a blowout win over the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 29.