Draymond Green recently acknowledged the reality of the Golden State Warriors’ 2023 series loss to the Los Angeles Lakers that ended their winning streak in Western Conference playoff series, but the outspoken star is skeptical that anyone can do it again.
“[The Lakers have] done it once, and that’s great,” Green told ESPN of Los Angeles ending Golden State’s series winning streak. “Now someone has to do it again and again.
“And I don’t foresee that happening.”
It was the first time the Warriors lost a playoff series to a Western Conference opponent since 2014, a streak of 19 series. While the streak was active, the Warriors won the NBA championship four times and lost in the NBA Finals twice.
During the stretch, they also had two seasons in which they missed the playoffs, and last season, they were obviously eliminated before they had a chance to reach the NBA Finals.
Interestingly, none of the 19 successful series victories came against the Lakers. The second-round series last season was their first meeting in the playoffs since 1991.
Los Angeles won the 2020 NBA title, while Golden State failed to make the playoffs that season with a 15-50 record. The Lakers eliminated the Warriors in six games last season to advance to the Western Conference Finals, where they were swept by the eventual NBA champion Denver Nuggets.
Golden State won the 2022 NBA title after losing to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals and then missing the playoffs two seasons in a row. The Warriors also lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals, their only two series losses after 2014 before the Lakers vanquished them in 2023.
Green said he believes the Warriors are capable of winning two more titles with their core group of him, Stephen Curry and Klay Thomson, a trio coached by Steve Kerr. They may have to face the Lakers in the playoffs at some point again, with Los Angeles poised to remain a contender after a very successful 2023 offseason.
LeBron James put off retirement while Anthony Davis received a contract extension. Moreover, the Lakers were able to re-sign Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura while also adding Gabe Vincent, Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince, Jaxson Hayes and Christian Wood.
The Western Conference is very strong, with the revamped Phoenix Suns also primed to challenge the Warriors, Lakers and defending champion Nuggets. It will be a difficult task for Green’s Warriors to start another lengthy winning streak in Western Conference playoff series, and there’s a good chance it could be the Lakers who knock them out again.