When postseason play began, the Golden State Warriors already looked like threats to make a major run and challenge for another NBA title. Now, the team is suddenly the odds-on favorite to steamroll its way to the trophy.
Devin Booker’s injury in Phoenix has definitely played a role there. But the terror that Golden State is unleashing on Denver is changing minds, too. Never mind the fact that Stephen Curry is coming off an injury or that the team lacks a true center to combat the Embiids and Jokices of the world.
Simply put, the Warriors have been dominant during their first-round series. And the “death lineup” of Curry, Jordan Poole, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green is the reason why.
In particular, the Dubs’ small-ball trio of Steph, Klay and JP has been so devastating to the Nuggets’ cause that their head coach, Michael Malone, has appropriately compared it to a mythological hellhound.
Malone: The Warriors Trio Is Like Cerberus
Through three games, the Warriors have outscored the Nuggets by 9.6 points per 100 possessions when the aforementioned trio is on the court. So, when Malone was asked about the combination on Saturday, the wild comparison he served up felt weirdly accurate.
“What’s a three-headed monster in Greek mythology,” Malone said he asked an assistant, via ESPN. “And it’s like ‘Cerberus.'”
In Greek mythology, Cerberus is typically described as a horrific, three-headed hound with a serpent tail. The beast is charged with guarding the gates of the Underworld in order to prevent the dead from escaping. Clearly, the Warriors trio is on a similar mission to prevent Malone’s club from escaping Round 1.
“The efficiency which they are doing it is probably more scary than anything,” Malone added. “We made them work and make tough shots and that is what they do… One of the things we talked about is how do you take one of those three-headed monsters away.”
So far, the answer seems to be that you can’t.
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Kuminga Could Be a Factor Down the Line
Despite his rookie standout status, Dubs forward Jonathan Kuminga has played all of eight minutes through three postseason contests. However, the team maintains a belief that he’ll make his presence known at some point later in the playoffs, per The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson II.
And comments made by Golden State coach Steve Kerr definitely lend credence to the notion as a possibility.
“I keep reminding all the guys every day that, [in] the playoffs, things change at the drop of a hat,” Kerr said. “You’ve got to be prepared for everything… We’ve had a lot of players who have had to fill in and step up and play big roles in big series. Whether it was Ian Clark or Quinn Cook, JaVale McGee … Nick Young played some huge minutes for us after not getting into some games. A big part of the playoffs is everybody staying ready.”