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Why the Warriors Won't Win the NBA Title

Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors

There’s no questioning the greatness of the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors. The Warriors made history on Wednesday by setting a new precedent of regular season performance, topping the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ win record thanks to a home win over the Memphis Grizzlies — their 73rd of the campaign.

They're deep, they possess one of the greatest shooters the NBA has ever seen and they’re incredibly well coached. But that doesn’t mean a second NBA championship is guaranteed for this group.

Look, I know what you’re thinking. “How could you doubt this team? There’s no way they’ll lose. They’re far too talented.” While it’s true their ability is unrivalled, I don't believe it will be a cakewalk back to the NBA Finals for them. Here are a few reasons why:

One word: Spurs

Ever the model of consistency in the NBA, this edition of the San Antonio Spurs is one of the best we’ve seen in quite some time. San Antonio extended its playoff streak to 19 seasons — tying the 1951-1969 Boston Celtics for the longest run in league history.

While the Warriors hogged the spotlight all year long, the Spurs quietly had the best season in franchise history (67-15). Led by 2014 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs’ defense topped the NBA in every major category. This unit is good enough to make elite offenses look average, and you could certainly include the Warriors in that category.

The offseason free agent signing of LaMarcus Aldridge was just the spark this roster needed, and the Texas native did not disappoint. Aldridge ended the campaign with averages of 18 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. The 30-year-old shot a sizzling 51 percent from the field in 74 appearances.

The big three of Tim Duncan/Tony Parker/Manu Ginobli is in its twilight stages, but the passing of the torch to Leonard and Aldridge has already begun.

San Antonio suffered a 92-86 setback to the Warriors on April 10 in a game that didn’t impact the Spurs’ playoff positioning whatsoever. The win marked Golden State’s first victory in San Antonio since 1997. To put that into perspective, Duncan was still patrolling the paint at Wake Forest when Golden State last triumphed in San Antonio.

The fatigue factor

It’s quite common to see the championship hangover effect in professional sports. Deep playoff runs coupled with a summer’s worth of celebrating can translate to a bumpy season afterwards. The Warriors certainly haven’t suffered from that, but they definitely aren’t well rested at this point.

While the majority of playoff-bound squads sat their big guns down the stretch to keep them fresh for the playoffs, the Warriors were the complete opposite. Golden State’s pursuit of the Bulls’ win record was a storyline all season, and the team’s head coach even broke away from his own plan.

Back on March 3, Warriors’ bench boss Steve Kerr told reporters the historic chase was not his No. 1 goal. “Resting, that will take precedence,” Kerr said. “We will rest guys if they need it before we will go for any kind of streak or record, that’s for sure.”

That didn’t happen, as the Warriors trotted out lineups featuring All-Stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green night in and night out in games that would be normally be meaningless for first place teams.

Just a few weeks ago, Kerr admitted to the media the team’s constant chase of history was beginning to wear on his players. That’s concerning. The record is a fantastic accomplishment, but great players and teams are not judged in the regular season when all is said and done.

I’m not saying the Warriors are a lock to flame out in the postseason. Quite the opposite, in fact. I believe this group will be a dynasty for years to come. But there are numerous road blocks they will have to overcome, and if they do end up falling short, we shouldn’t act like the sky is falling.

Stranger things have happened in the NBA, after all.

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