Those early season bets for the Golden State Warriors to repeat as NBA champions are starting to look very unstable. In a rather shocking development, the Dubs fell to the Thunder in Oklahoma City for the second straight time on Tuesday night, giving Golden State their first set of back-to-back losses on the season.

Rough Start

The team that posted an NBA best 73-9 regular season record is officially on the ropes, down 3-1 against the 3-seed Thunder. Oklahoma City has brought it offensively with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant flat out dominating the past two games at Chesapeaker Energy Arena and finding a way to split the first two road games at the Oracle Arena.

Just like that, the defending champs are in as big of a hole as you can get through four games and it’s starting to look like it’s one even they can’t get out of.

Long Road Back

Or can they?

There are a few good things the Warriors can take away from this hole: humility, the fact that a team just overcame this deficit in the playoffs last season and that they still have the talent to pull it off.

For one, the Warriors were arguably starting to get a little too comfortable and even too cocky for their own good, suggesting that OKC was a mere “challenge” after dropping game one. The Thunder have been more than that, as their shifting defense has proven to be a real problem when it comes to getting open looks and succeeding in penetration. Russell Westbrook has also contained Stephen Curry quite well for the majority of this series, really only giving way for the first half in game one and for the third quarter in game two.

Golden State needs to suck it up and realize that they can be beat and in four games so far this series, they just haven’t brought the goods. Their defense has only been strong for about four full quarters, the same can be said of their offense and for as well known as they are for in-game adjustments, they really have not appropriately adapted to OKC’s defensive strategy.

They have nowhere to go but up from here, of course, so odds are the Warriors can see the end in sight if they don’t get it together. The good news is that there are three potential games left and there is no mystery surrounding them: the Warriors have to win all three if they want to get back to the NBA Finals for the second year in a row. Luckily two of them are at home, where they have still lost just three times all year. Hypothetically, if the Dubs can just play at a high level on their home floor and steal one road game, they’ll have a real shot at pulling off what seems like the impossible.

Done Before

As we pointed to, a team did this very thing just last season. The Houston Rockets were down 3-1 against the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the playoffs last year. Seemingly toasted going into the fourth quarter of game five, Houston stormed back and force a game six and ended up closing out the series in game seven. OKC isn’t the Clippers, but we just saw this last year, so a collapse against a team as great as the Warriors has to be on some bettor’s brains.

That’s just the most recent example. It’s happened nine times total in history, showcasing a small sample size over the years, but big enough to suggest a good team can get the job done if they come together at the right time. A quick look back even gives us an NBA champion to accomplish the feat. Back in 1995, the Houston Rockets were underdogs to the Phoenix Suns and were even down 3-1 in their series. They ran the table and even went on to win the title in the next round.

So, while the Dubs winning three straight games against a clearly determined Thunder squad is far from a lock, we know it can be done. It was done last year, it’s been done nine times total, it has specifically been done in the a Conference Finals (1981 Boston Celtics) and a team that has pulled it off has gone on to win the league championship (three times).

How to Bet

If any team this year could go down 3-1 and still feel confident they could storm back and win the series, it’s got to be the Warriors. They have not played their best ball in this series so far, but they have the league MVP, Klay Thompson just started getting hot in game four and Draymond Green can’t possibly be this bad (2-of-17 in last two games) forever.

So, how do you bet going forward? If you already bet on the Dubs winning it all, it is what it is. Maybe they still will and your return will be as weak as it was always going to be. Now, of course, they look to be on the way out of the playoffs, which oddly makes them a fantastic bet to win it all. You don’t want a huge bet, but with worse odds, one of the greatest regular season teams we’ve ever seen could actually be a fun bet as they try to defy logic and go on a three-game run to get back to the Finals.

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