Steph Curry made his return to the hardwood last night in game 2 of the West Conference Semifinals where the Warriors squeaked past the Pelicans 121-116 to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
Curry received a thunderous ovation when he checked in off the bench, and then accordingly came off a Kevon Looney screen and banged a three his first trip down the court. Curry only logged 27 minutes off the bench but was able to accumulate 28 points on 8-15 shooting (5-10 from three). He also logged a ridiculous plus-minus of +26. Looney was the closest to him with a +7. The Warriors team just seemed different with Curry on the court last night. Makes sense since he won back to back MVP’s not too long ago.
Even though I believe that the Warriors would have still been my favorites to win the NBA Finals this year even without Curry, his return makes me feel like it is inevitable now. The Rockets have been rolling all season, including the playoffs, but I just cannot trust two of the most notorious chokers in recent NBA history in James Harden, and Chris Paul to get it done when there is actual adversity to overcome.
The East is more balanced than years past. There is not one dominant team that can give the Warriors a legitimate push for the title this year. LeBron just finished carrying corpses through a seven game first round series, the Raptors have never proven they can win anything that matters, the Celtics are down their 2 best players and now Jaylen Brown, and the 76ers might be the odds-on favorite in the East right now, but this team is led by two young stars in their first playoff appearance.
The first round of these playoffs was entertaining as hell, and I think they will continue to stay this way until The Finals, but I think we are all consuming this basketball like a documentary: you enjoy the hell out of it, and you learn some cool nuggets from some of the supporting people within the story, but we all know what happens in the end. With Curry back, we officially have an ending to the 2017-2018 NBA season documentary.