Dan Feldman

Don’t forget the "Are Warriors best team ever?" discussion

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Only team in NBA history with an undefeated postseason

The 2016-17 Warriors’ strongest claim to being the greatest team ever got erased when they lost Game 4 of the NBA Finals. By the time they held off a suddenly dangerous Cleveland in Game 5, the focus had turned to the present: Golden State winning the title.

The Warriors might enjoy that room to celebrate without pondering their legacy, but take a step back, and they still have a compelling case as the greatest team ever.

First, the talent.

Stephen Curry is the back-to-back reigning MVP, the best shooter of all-time who has rounded out his game to unexpected levels. Kevin Durant won MVP the year before and also is still in his prime, maybe even playing his best basketball. Draymond Green is favored to win Defensive Player of the Year, and he’s one of the most dynamic passers ever for his position. Klay Thompson is an all-time great shooter and a defensive stopper.

Golden State is so good, Andre Iguodala, the 2015 Finals MVP, barely gets mentioned.

When Durant got hurt in the regular season, the Warriors turned to their other MVP in his prime. When Green – whose unique skill set at center fortifies a unit so devastating, it’s called the death lineup – got into foul trouble, they turned to Durant (a skilled 7-footer unlike any other) at center. Heck, when their coach stepped away due to back problems, they turned to an assistant who previously won Coach of the Year and guided his team to the Finals.

Golden State has everything a team could ever want – and answers when the machine sputters, which isn’t often.

Even with their loss, the Warriors (16-1) posted the best playoff record ever:

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Maybe the 2001 Lakers (15-1) would’ve matched the Warriors with an extra first-round game. (The first round was best-of-five then.) The 1983 76ers could have also matched Golden State if they played in the same postseason format.

But the Warriors are the only team to achieve 16-1 in reality, not a hypothetical. They were also much more dominant en route, anyway.

Golden State outscored playoff opponents 13.5 points per game – the third-best mark ever, second best by an NBA champion and best in decades:

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With a 67-15 regular-season record, this might be the best season ever.

But why stop there? Golden State’s elite run began two years ago with another 67-15 season and a championship, continued with 73 wins and a Finals loss last year and returned to the top with this year’s title.

The Warriors have won 84.1% of their games in the last three years, the best three-year span in NBA history (with championships won on the right):

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Only Michael Jordan’s Bulls came close, winning 82.5% of their games from 1995-96 through 1997-1998. They, of course, also won three titles in that span.

Golden State won only two.

But two of three isn’t bad, and this year’s championship cleanses the stench of blowing a 3-1 lead in last year’s finals after winning a record 73 games in the regular season. Two titles and another trip to the Finals puts this three-year stretch in an elite class.

Here’s every time a team reached at least three straight NBA Finals and won at least two of them:

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These Warriors, LeBron JamesDwyane WadeChris Bosh Heat, Kobe Bryant-Pau Gasol Lakers, Shaq-Kobe Lakers, Jordan’s Bulls, Bad Boys Pistons, Showtime Lakers, Larry Bird Celtics, Bill Russell Celtics and Minneapolis Lakers – that’s the entire list. Add Golden State’s regular-season dominance, and this is an unprecedented run.

The best ever? I’d still favor Jordan’s second three-peat.

But the Warriors aren’t going anywhere. They might already be the greatest. If not, we could have good cause to revisit the topic next year and the following year and…

Warriors: ‘We have not received an invitation to the White House’

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Have the NBA-champion Warriors decided not to visit Donald Trump’s White House? A muddled and difficult-to-follow rumor suggested that was the case.

But Golden State won’t confirm it and is taking a different tone.

Warriors release:

Today is all about celebrating our championship. We have not received an invitation to the White House, but will make those decisions when and if necessary.

This seems a little semantic. NBA champions are routinely invited to the White House. Even if the Warriors haven’t yet been formally invited, they know it’s coming.

They also knew they were heavily favored to win the championship, and Shaun Livingston even publicly said he wouldn’t visit the White House. I’d be surprised if they voted on a White House trip in the hours after clinching the title, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they determined a plan in the weeks or months prior.

Golden State can and should celebrate its championship today. But a decision is coming on the White House, if it hasn’t been made already.

Golden State Warriors parade set for Thursday in Oakland

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OAKLAND, Calif. — The city of Oakland is gearing up for a Thursday parade to celebrate the Golden State Warriors latest NBA title, officials said following their win.

As fans snapped up victory shirts and hats Tuesday following a night of celebrating, city crews were busy hanging championship banners along the parade route.

The parade will take place Thursday morning in downtown Oakland, following the same route as the team’s parade to celebrate the 2015 NBA title.

It will start at 10 a.m. at Broadway and 11th Street, wind through downtown streets and end with a procession to the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center.

Fans are encouraged to line up for the parade and rally as soon as 5 a.m. Thursday and taking public transportation is encouraged.

Following the victory Monday night, warriors’ fans danced in the streets in downtown Oakland and wildly honked their horns in San Francisco.

The party began as soon as Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and the Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120 at Oracle Arena to clinch their second championship in three years.

In San Francisco, people hung out of cars waving blue and gold flags.

Across the bay, rowdy crowds gathered in Oakland intersections, including one where cheering fans made a circle to watch several men breakdance. Some climbed street lights, some sprayed champagne and some threw bottles leaving broken glass in streets. Others set off fireworks.

There were no immediate reports of any violence or arrests.

The Warriors won the title in 2015 before the Cavaliers made their historic comeback last year. Then it was Golden State’s turn again, taking the title in five games.

Fired-up David West: ‘You can’t take it with you. The Egyptians learned that’ (video)

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David West sacrificed more than $10 million to chase a ring on minimum deals, first with the Spurs then with the Warriors.

That paid off when the 36-year-old forward won his first title with Golden State last night.

West:

It’s been a long journey, and it feels great to get here. It feels better than I thought it would. All honesty. It’s not about being the No. 1 or No. 2 or getting all the shots. That stuff is irrelevant. It’s about winning. It’s about being a part of journey. It’s about being a part of every single step. It’s about winning.

You can’t take it with you. The Egyptians learned that. You can’t bury it and take the treasures with you. So it’s about the small things in life, the accomplishments, man. It’s about winning.

West is so much of what the Warriors want to be about – good at basketball, wise in many areas and darned competitive.

He also helped set an example for Kevin Durant before either arrived in Golden State, which might count for something.

Kevin Durant, holding Finals MVP trophy, exits car leaving arena to celebrate with Warriors fans (video)

AP Photo/Ben Margot
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Kevin Durant had an incredible NBA Finals, and he’s clearly savoring every moment of the Warriors’ championship.

Anthony Slater of The Mercury News:

I haven’t seen Durant mobbed by fans like that since he caught fire at Rucker Parker.