They gave it one hell of a shot.
The Golden State Warriors’ season came to an abrupt halt Thursday night, falling 94-82 to the San Antonio Spurs in a win-or-stay-home situation. Despite all the makings of a possible storybook ending, the Cinderella story came to an end at the hands of a team that was just not interested in allowing a happy finish.
Well, it’s over for now, anyway.
There is no shame in losing to the Spurs. For over a decade, a date with the Spurs in the postseason has spelt doom for a great number of teams. It was no different with these Warriors. The buzz saw that San Antonio simply added another prize to its trophy case.
Unfortunately for these Spurs, the Warriors are primed for redemption next season. Actually, they’re primed for the foreseeable future.
With their core three—Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes—all 25 years old or younger, this postseason was merely a precursor of what may be to come. They gave the Spurs all they could handle in their first-ever playoff series. With another year of experience under their belts, it is only fair to assume that far bigger things are in store.
Sweet shooting from Curry and Thompson. Elite athleticism from Barnes. A big-man duo in Lee and Andrew Bogut that complements each player perfectly—one offensive-minded while the other possesses elite rebounding and defensive ability.
The future is indeed bright for the Warriors.
Lee going down was supposed to signal instant defeat. Instead, it marked the coming of age for an extremely young team. A young team with much room for improvement.
The priority during the offseason obviously must be to ensure that Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry remain a part of the team. Their contributions off the bench ensured that the drop-off between starters and reserves is minimal.
If Jackson can keep his core fresh throughout the regular season, he can unleash them full force during the postseason. There should be no excuse for tired legs during the next campaign. There are simply too many quality players.
The Warriors entered this season with low expectations. They blew those out of the water.
The challenge for next season will be making sure they meet the undoubtedly high expectations they have now created for themselves. With a young squad that can only improve (barring a Tyreke Evans-type self-combustion), it is rather safe to assume they will do just that.