In the 2012-13 and 2013-14 NBA seasons, the Warriors made a lot of enemies, and that’s okay. If your team is going to be good, they have to make some enemies out there, that’s more important. Those are the types of games that fans pay to see. First of all, it’s fun to watch two teams go at it, and second of all, it’s fun to see physical play.
They haven’t really been dominant at all in the past decade, and now that they’re looking like a better team, they can form rivalries. For example, the Celtics have the Lakers, and the Heat have the Thunder, and now the Spurs. It’s classic, yes, and usually originates from somewhere. With that being said, here are the Warriors’ three biggest rivals.
1. Los Angeles Clippers:
The Clippers rivalry goes back to the first game the Warriors played against them early in the 2012-13 season. The Warriors went on a run, then the Clippers went on a run. In the midst of everything, David Lee told Blake Griffin, “Stop flopping!”
From then on, things were pretty heated. The Warriors escaped LA with a slim victory. All the games after that, the fans were pumped up, and the teams played very well.
When the Clippers played next in Oracle, it was “White Out” night, and there was a playoff atmosphere. For a while, it was looking like the Clippers were going to be paired with the Warriors in the first round. When the Nuggets bested the Clippers, fans were disappointed.
In the 2014 postseason, however, the Warriors and the Clippers Series got a little chippy. Although the big Aussie, Andrew Bogut, wasn’t there to make things interesting, the Warriors took LAC to a Game 7 where they lost. They are sure to have that bitter taste in their mouths, continuing into next season.
2. Denver Nuggets:
How much do you think the Denver Nuggets hate the Warriors right now? Whether it’s a pesky Stephen Curry draining 3-pointers from everywhere, or a Harrison Barnes dunk, the Nuggets failed to stop the sixth-seeded Warriors, who powered right through them to get to the second round of the 2013 playoffs. The Nuggets are a fantastic basketball team, and believe me, they’re not going to forget what the Warriors did to them.
It was heated when players talked trash about each other off the court, and got even worse when the coaches joined in. Whether the Warriors like it or not, the next game they play against the Nuggets is going to be pretty physical. Fortunately for these two teams, they’ve started a rivalry, even if there wasn’t already one before.
Although Denver may be entering a period of rebuilding, they will still always hate Golden State for forcing them into this rebuilding period. They had almost every piece to win a championship in 2013, but fell short yet again in the first round. The following season, they finished below .500 for the first time in a while.
3. Indiana Pacers:
Unlikely, but this is true.
The Pacers and the Warriors have the third biggest rivalry on this list. The game in Indiana was never really close, but we all know what happened. As David Lee attempted to box out Roy Hibbert, he was angered by all the physical play. He gave Hibbert a shove, and the next thing you know, he Curry, and Klay Thompson are in a dog fight. It was eventually broken up, but after fights like that, there has to be a rivalry.
Even before that game, in Oakland, the Pacers and the Warriors got into some heated and physical play. Draymond Green was threatened by Tyler Hansbrough, who told him to meet him outside after the game. Green joked about it saying that he didn’t have enough money to afford the fight, and things went on from there.
I’m sure tensions were never alleviated, especially because of Klay Thompson’s game winner against Indiana in the 2013-14 season.