The Cauldron at SI.com wrote a reflection piece on the unexpected rise of the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers, behind the elite play of eventual league MVP and Sixth Man of the Year Bill Walton. Along the way, the team is compared to the current NBA Champions, the dominant Golden State Warriors. Walton's rise and fall was sudden, as was the Blazers'. Could the Warriors have a similar fate?
The Blazers simultaneously were the most exciting and dominating team of their era. At the time, the media thought of them as a new dynasty; the late ‘70s were theirs for the taking. Looking at the NBA champions right after them — a 44-win Washington Bullets team and then a Seattle SuperSonics team with a point differential of just 2.7 — there certainly was an opening for an extended reign. But the Blazers were driven by the catalytic force of Walton, and when he crumbled, the budding dynasty ended prematurely.
I’m not mentioning the career-derailing injuries of Bill Walton as some hex directed at the Warriors; I don’t believe in jinxing. But Curry has a previous history of nasty ankle injuries, and anything can happen. Magic Johnson got HIV. Grant Hill spent years suffering from and trying to remedy ankle problems. Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant couldn’t get along well enough to stay together and keep winning titles. Even the great ones fall.
Hours after the article was published, the Warriors dominated the Houston Rockets for an easy Game 1 victory. However, Stephen Curry injured his ankle and was forced from the game. His Game 2 status is questionable.