CHICAGO - Through 66 games last regular season, the then defending champion Golden State Warriors cruised to a 51-15 record before resting their assets and finish the grueling 82-game schedule at 58-24.
Fresh and highly-motivated, they then went on a 16-5 playoffs blitzkrieg, including a 4-0 demolition of the hapless Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals, to win back-to-back NBA titles.
This season, the Warriors are 45-21 through 66 games, and following an embarrassing 115-111 home loss to the Phoenix Suns on Monday at Oracle Arena, have dropped six of their last 10.
Unbelievably. some people argue that it's a sign of the apocalypse. Others, especially those who believe that Santa Claus exists, think the Warriors are falling apart, exposed, and finally ripe for the taking.
Call off the DEFCON 1 alert, boys and girls. The Warriors are gonna be just fine.
Even with the emergence of Denver, the rise of Houston, and the noise from Oklahoma, Golden State remains tranquil. Secure in the knowledge that somewhere between May 30 and June 16 they will collect a 3-peat.
As the saying goes, Pagkahaba-haba man ng prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang tuloy.
No matter how long and winding and dramatic this season's procession goes, the Larry O'Brien trophy will still end up in Oakland. California when the final shot is swished.
If so, then why did the Warriors suddenly go 4-6 after winning 16 of their last 17 previous games?
I can't tell you exactly why, but German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer has a theory that makes sense: "The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom."
Ergo, the Warriors' hiccup is not due to outside threats, but rather, from forces within - banged-up bodies and an annoying lack of interest.
If you're a Warriors fan, sleep off this slippage like a hangover. Guaranteed, you'll wake up tomorrow with a clear head and a heart bursting with optimism.
THE WARRIORS have been plagued by injuries. Steph Curry has missed 11 games, Draymond Green, 15. Shaun Livingston, 14 and Damian Jones, 42. The lack of continuity has fractured the harmony on both ends of the floor, but once they are 100 percent, oh Mother Mary.
Despite their current "decline," the Warriors are still the No. 1 scoring team in the NBA with 118.2 points per, which is 4.7 points more than what they averaged in 82 contests last year.
As they continue to incorporate a plodding DeMarcus Cousins in their five-man All-Star lineup, the Warriors defensive rating sits at 10th in the league at 110.3. But also take note that in last year's title run, their defensive rating was a mere 11th in the NBA at 107.6.
Needless, to say, while their defense can possess the bite of a Doberman, it's not exactly the side of their bread that is buttered.
The moral of the story here is that the only way to dethrone coach Steve Kerr's army is to outscore them. But with Kevin Durrant, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry combining for an average of 77.7 points per game, who the hell can?
A Feng Shui consultant may say that 7-7-7 is lucky but metrics analysts, through the science of hard numbers, will attest with certainty that anytime a team of 12 gets a combined 77.7 points from it's three main cogs alone, the other side virtually has no chance winning four games in a series of seven.
If you don't believe me, bite me.
Look, with LeBron James failing to secure a playoffs appointment this post-season, there really is no singular force that can topple Golden State.
The Nuggets have the rush but not the gold. Name me three of that team's starters. Right now. See what I mean?
Paul George and Russell Westbrook have carried the Thunder to 41-26, but like seasons past, they run out of steam in the playoffs. Heck, they couldn't even tune out the Jazz, who eliminated them in the first round last April.
The Rockets are a cute 42-25 while James Harden is force feeding himself with 24.7 field goals a game, which is why he norms a bloated 36.3 points per. But unless proven otherwise, Houston reminds me of a nice necklace - a choker.
These Warriors are simply going through the motions. But under the glare of the bright playoffs lights, they'll flip that championship switch and unleash their unmatched firepower.
Lord, have mercy on the rest of the NBA.