Is the Warriors' Dynasty Ending Already? Mavericks Game Is Now Crucial for Curry and Co

Here's the thing with having a 73-win season, and winning two NBA Championships in three years, and at least partially reinventing the game of basketball in a blur of three-pointers and an orgy of scoring.

People kind of expect you to do the same thing—or even better it—every year that follows. And that, as any student of the rise and fall of dynasties knows, is pretty much an impossibility.

We are talking about the Golden State Warriors, of course, and what has been an… interesting start to the season, to put things politely. Interesting in a bad way for the Warriors, who have lost two of their first three games including a Saturday night defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies. Interesting in a good way for the rest of the Western Conference, which came into the new season chasing the Warriors' coattails and now finds itself, mostly, looking down on the champions. The Houston Rockets, with their double-headed monster of a backcourt in James Harden and Chris Paul, are already two games ahead of the Warriors.

It's not the gap, though, that should concern anyone with a vested interest in the Warriors' dynasty continuing past 2017. There are, after all, 78 more regular-season games to play. It's more the general, and shocking, air of dysfunction that colored the first week of the regular season. Steve Kerr admitting, for instance, that his team had lacked conditioning against the Rockets in the season-opener on October 18. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant getting ejected from the defeat to the Grizzlies; Curry throwing out his mouthpiece. "I think he should be suspended eight, maybe 10 games. It was egregious. It was awful," Kerr joked in quotes reported by USA Today. And maybe it was an incident petty enough to joke about, and maybe you could even turn the situation on its head and say it's good that Curry is irked that the Warriors have already lost almost a quarter of the number of games they lost in total two seasons ago.

But this is, and has been, a team known for its laser-like focus on detail and execution and all of the little details that coaches like Kerr like to emphasize. And so far in 2017-18, the Warriors have been sloppy, and lacking in concentration at vital moments. In the circumstances, a visit to American Airlines Arena to play the 0-3 Dallas Mavericks seems like a fillip to put the Warriors back on track quickly. It's true, surely, that the Warriors are in part victims of their success and extraordinary powers of invention. But it's also true that dynasties can rise and fall on a whim, brutally, unexpectedly. It's up to Curry, Durant, Klay Thompson and their supporting cast to decide how their story ends.