Thomsen: No Asterisk Needed If Rockets Beat Warriors

If the Rockets beat the Warriors, even without Kevin Durant, their accomplishment should not be diminished, Ian Thomsen says

The DA Show
May 10, 2019 - 12:31 pm

The Golden State Warriors will be without Kevin Durant for the rest of their second-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets. As a result, the Rockets have a better chance of beating the Warriors.

But those odds might not have increased as much as you think.

“I’m going to be counterintuitive,” NBA writer and author Ian Thomsen said on The DA Show. “I came into it liking Houston. I’ve been thinking Houston for weeks: they’re going to be beat the Warriors and get to the Finals. That’s the hungrier team. How may times have we seen the hungrier team that’s lost year after year after year finally break through?”

Answer: all the time. Heck, it happens so often, it’s almost a rite of passage.

“But now you have Kevin Durant out,” Thomsen said, “and I just wonder if Steph Curry and Klay Thompson (think), ‘Hey, there’s no pressure on us. This is the first time in years we are not expected to win this game. No one is thinking we should win it, but we’ve won championships and done all these things before Durant was here – and probably when he leaves this summer, we’re going to have to do it again without him anyway. Let’s go show everybody who we are and let’s go play loose and have fun.’ 

“It’s going to be a little bit of an underdog mentality to them that they have not had for a long time,” Thomsen continued. “Maybe they can’t overcome it, or maybe it’s going to be really liberating.”

If the Rockets do come back to win the series, though, don’t diminish the accomplishment. If you beat the Warriors in a seven-game series, no asterisk is necessary.

“Absolutely not,” Thomsen said. “You can go back through all of the Warriors’ championships and pick out one or two injuries along the way to opponents that really helped the Warriors. So I don’t think it works that way. Even without Durant, there’s a lot of talent there and it’s not going to be easy for the Rockets to win. I think they can definitely win. Again, I’ve been picking them all along to win this series. I don’t think there’s any asterisk at all.”