Remember that window in mid-November where the Warriors looked vulnerable, and then again in late December when they lost five games in an 11-game stretch?
Those windows have been slammed shut in January as the two-time defending champions appear to have hit their stride and, more importantly, are getting healthy as they prepare for the stretch run of the regular season.
It’s been just two games but DeMarcus Cousins is going to fit in just fine in Golden State. The team’s fifth All-Star (and All-Pro) returned to action on January 18 and has looked as good as he had been pre-Achilles tear.
He isn’t going to match the gaudy numbers he posted in Sacramento and New Orleans simply because there are so many mouths to feed, but just two games in he’s buying in to what makes the Warriors the Warriors and fills a critical need for them at center.
Whole Team Hitting Its Stride
Everyone else is doing just fine, too. Earlier this season Klay Thompson set an NBA record with 14 made 3-pointers in a win over the Bulls, and on Monday tied an NBA record by making 10 consecutive 3-pointers without a miss in an easy win over the Lakers.
Steph Curry had one of the biggest bloopers of the NBA season in that Monday win – slipping on a breakaway dunk and then airballing a 3-pointer on the same possession – but is averaging 29.3 points, the most since his first MVP season, has topped 40 points three times in January and has separate games of 10 and 11 3-pointers in that span.
We still like him as a potential dark horse MVP candidate in NBA MVP betting, especially if James Harden slows down some after the return of Chris Paul.
Kevin Durant? Before he makes plenty of noise in free agency this summer, he’s quietly averaging 28.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.0 assists on .511/.385/.904 shooting. Larry Bird is the only other player to reach those thresholds and seemingly no one is talking about it.
This is all to say that the Warriors are absolutely rolling. Since Harden’s incredible game-winning triple in overtime on Jan. 3, the Warriors have won eight straight games and are 5-2-1 against the spread , including covers as 17-point, 15.5-point and 13.5-point favorites.
In that eight-game stretch they have an absurd 18.0 net rating, nearly 8 points better than second place Milwaukee (10.4). The difference between Golden State and Milwaukee is the same between Milwaukee and Indiana (2.9), which is 12th in that span.
Warriors Odds Trimmed
Oddsmakers are taking note of the juggernaut getting back to full strength, too. It was only a minor shift, but the Warriors’ NBA Finals betting odds have moved from -182 to -190. Again, that’s an $8 shift to win $100. At this point they’re still an excellent bet and incredibly this is the best their odds will be this season.
As they continue rolling and as the postseason nears their odds will only go lower, so fans of NBA betting should take note.
In a year when James Harden is putting up historic numbers, the Raptors and Bucks both look like legitimate contenders with MVP frontrunners, the Nuggets have jumped from good to great and have led the West move of the year, the Warriors’ title odds are still improving.
The West is entirely jumbled at the top and looks to be 10 teams deep, and Golden State still looks like a safe bet to win the conference for a fifth straight season at -305; to put that in context, the Raptors, owners of a 4.5-game lead, are also -305 to win the Atlantic Division.
The last eight games have been a reminder that the class of the NBA remains the Warriors. They’re a great bet in both the short-term and long-term.