Living here in the Bay Area, I can verify from firsthand experience that this particular trend always becomes a popular talking point in the wake of any Golden State defeat. Take Tuesday night’s loss at Washington, for example. Kevin Durant’s Grade 2 MCL sprain was unequivocally the Wednesday morning headline, but hoop heads all across northern California eventually turned their attention to Chicago and “the streak.”
After all, when a professional basketball franchise closes as a favorite in all sixty of its regular season games, you tend to sit up and take notice any time that club endures a loss.
However, as a natural born contrarian at heart, I had a completely different thought process following Tuesday night’s 112-108 loss at Washington: How will the Wizards perform after a rare win over the Warriors? In fact, how does any team who has defeated Golden State during the regular season over the last two years perform their next time out?
Ever since the Warriors delivered the Bay Area it’s first NBA Championship in 40 years back in June of 2015, the franchise has gone an insane 123-19 (.866) during the regular season. We know the Warriors are a perfect 18-0 following those losses entering Thursday night’s game at Chicago, but how did the opposition fare in those 19 games after beating the Dubs?
Did a combination of cockiness and arrogance set in or did that upset jump-start a potential winning streak?
Let’s take a look:
RECORD OF TEAM WHO BEAT GOLDEN STATE IN NEXT GAME OUT
Straight up: 10-9
Against the spread: 8-10-1
Over/under: 12-7 to the UNDER
Outside of blindly playing Unders in the next game out, which have been hitting at 63.1 percent, there’s no profitability whatsoever to be had from this information.
So what if we break it down using home/road splits?
RECORD OF TEAM WHO BEAT GSW IN NEXT GAME OUT WHEN AT HOME
Straight up: 4-4
Against the spread: 4-4
Over/under: 5-3 to the OVER
RECORD OF TEAM WHO BEAT GSW IN NEXT GAME OUT WHEN ON ROAD
Straight up: 6-5
Against the spread: 4-6-1
Over/under: 9-2 to the UNDER
And there it is.
Granted, this is a very small sample size that began with 19 games and was quickly reduced to eleven, but the fact remains that when a team has defeated the Golden State Warriors during the regular season over the last two years and then plays on the road the next time out, the UNDER is hitting at a rate of 81.8 percent.
Speaking of the next game out…
In the wake of the Kevin Durant injury, which is all but certain to sideline the former league MVP for the remainder of the regular season, I reached out to two different insiders for insight into how both Golden State point spreads and NBA title odds would be altered with one of the game’s best players out of action.
Ed Salmons, Westgate SuperBook Assistant Manager: “Durant is worth more against great teams than average-to-bad teams. I’d say he’s worth about 2.5 points when it comes to the spread. As for our championship futures, we moved Golden State from -225 to -150 and Cleveland from 5/2 to 9/4.”
Dave Mason, BetOnline.ag Sportsbook Brand Manager: “We adjusted the Warriors from -180 to -150 and the Cavs from +300 to +225. In regards to the point spread, I’d say Durant is worth about 3.5 points.”
In my humble opinion, the Warriors have approximately 11 weeks from today to get Durant back on the floor in relatively healthy fashion. Remember, this roster still includes two-time MVP Steph Curry, potential Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green and one of the game’s best two-way players in Klay Thompson. Golden State will successfully navigate the final 22 games of the regular season without Durant and will enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. After that, this franchise is more than capable of getting by Denver, Utah and/or the Clippers without Durant prior to the Western Conference Finals.
So with potential Western Conference/NBA Finals matchups with Houston and/or San Antonio and Cleveland looming, the Warriors have approximately 11 weeks until the Western Conference Finals when they’ll need a healthy Durant back on the floor.