Big Win Won’t Define Warriors, but Golden State Has Begun Banishing Demons

January 17th, 2017 by Erik Malinowski Leave a reply »

OAKLAND, Calif. — A half-hour after entering the Bridge Club—Oracle Arena's swanky restaurant and bar typically reserved for VIPs—Golden State owner Joe Lacob made his way down the hall to the Warriors' quiet and calm locker room.

First up was Kevin Durant in the back hallway. Then Stephen Curry by his locker, followed by Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee and so forth. Everyone still around following a 126-91 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers got a congratulatory earful from the big boss.

You can say this January win over the defending champions didn't mean a lot in the scope of an 82-game road to the playoffs. And you can say the Warriors can't find the kind of redemption they fervently seek unless these two squads meet again in June for what would be a seismic third straight NBA Finals showdown.

But don't say this drubbing didn't mean anything to the Warriors.

Golden State played some of the best basketball of the season against a foe that had proved troublesome in the near term. An aggressive Curry (20 points on 20 shots) set the table (11 assists). Durant (21 points), Klay Thompson (26 points ...

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