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By Golden State standards Chase Allen Jersey , this season was downright bumpy.


”You can never count out a champion, no matter what’s going on in the course of their season,” Cleveland star LeBron James said, lauding the Warriors. ”It’s impossible to do that, because they’re built from a different cloth P. J. Williams Jersey , and I know that firsthand. When you win a championship and you’re around guys for a long period of time, and you know what you’re capable of doing, all you need is to get healthy.

”If you can get healthy and guys are playing at the right level at the same time, then you can feel like you can beat anybody.”

They got healthy.

And they’re about to beat everybody.

They did it the hard way, without question. Houston finished seven games ahead of the Warriors in the regular season, earning the right to be the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs. If the Rockets had Chris Paul for Game 6 or Game 7 of that series, if Paul’s hamstring hadn’t betrayed him at the worst possible time, then the Warriors could very well be on vacation right now.

”Every season is very different,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. ”Every journey is a new one each season. Yet the cumulative effect on multiple journeys adds up, and we have felt that this year. I think it’s been our most inconsistent season. It’s been our most difficult season. But our guys sense the finish line, and they turned it on right from the beginning of the playoffs defensively.”

The finish line is now within sight.

If the Warriors finish this off – no team in NBA history has blown a 3-0 series lead – then all the hiccups of the regular season will be forgotten. There will be a parade in the Bay Area before long, championship rings to hand out and another banner to unfurl on opening night next season, and more free agents likely will take a look at signing with Golden State in an effort to add to their own jewelry collections.

But if things get rocky next season, the Warriors will also have the experiences from this year to draw upon. In short, not looking their best at times this season might ultimately make them better.

”It’s been a crazy ride,” Curry said. ”So now we’ve just got to finish the job.”




NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (15-4)

OPEN CAMP: July 26, Foxborough, Massachusetts

LAST YEAR: New England lost twice in its first four games but recovered to win 11 of its final 12 behind MVP season of quarterback Tom Brady. He impressed at age 40, throwing for 4,577 yards, 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He did so despite reported issues between himself, coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft following midseason trade of backup Jimmy Garoppolo to 49ers. Defensive inconsistency was ongoing issue and it caught up with Patriots in Super Bowl loss to Philadelphia. It included surprise benching of cornerback Malcolm Butler, one of several players to sign with new teams during free agency.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: RB Jeremy Hill, RB Sony Michel, QB Danny Etling, DE Adrian Clayborn DeForest Buckner Jersey , WR Jordan Matthews, OT Trent Brown, OL Isaiah Wynn, CB Jason McCourty, DT Danny Shelton,

IMPORTANT LOSSES: Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, WR Danny Amendola, WR Brandin Cooks, CB Malcolm Butler, CB Johnson Bademosi, RB Dion Lewis, OT Nate Solder, OT Cam Fleming.

CAMP NEEDS: Wide receiver will be hot topic. After sitting out 2017 with torn right ACL, Julian Edelman is suspended for first four games of regular season for violating NFL policy on performance enhancers. Combined with losses of Amendola and Cooks in trades to Dolphins and Rams, respectively, it leaves Chris Hogan (34 catches, 439 yards, five TDs) as top returning wide receiver. Something also must be done to solidify defense that needs more edge rushing and someone to start alongside Stephon Gilmore at cornerback.

EXPECTATIONS: Even with offseason roster changes, Patriots enter camp as team to beat in AFC East. All-Pro TE Rob Gronkowski considered retirement in offseason; he and Brady skipped voluntary offseason workouts. But both returned for mandatory minicamps and say they are focused on helping New England reach what would be its fourth Super Bowl in five seasons. One of biggest question marks will be how linebackers coach Brian Flores does in new role as defensive play caller.



BUFFALO BILLS (9-8)

OPEN CAMP: July 26, St. John Fisher College, Pittsford, New York

LAST YEAR: Under first-year coach (Sean McDermott) and GM (Brandon Beane), Buffalo overcame major roster overhaul and midseason quarterback shuffle to win four of last six games and clinch playoff berth to end 17-year postseason drought. Bills snapped longest active streak of missing playoffs in North America’s four major professional sports. At 29, LeSean McCoy was offensive workhorse with 1,138 yards rushing and 448 yards receiving and eight touchdowns. Revamped secondary, including first-round pick Tre’Davious White Donald Trump Jersey , keyed patchwork defense by finishing tied for sixth in NFL with 18 interceptions.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Rookie QB Josh Allen, QB A.J. McCarron, rookie LB Tremaine Edmunds, DT Star Lotulelei, DE Trent Murphy, CB Vontae Davis, WR Jeremy Kerley, RB Chris Ivory, OLs Russell Bodine and Marshall Newhouse, and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: QB Tyrod Taylor, LT Cordy Glenn, C Eric Wood, RG Richie Incognito, WR Jordan Matthews, CB E.J. Gaines, LB Preston Brown and FB Mike Tolbert.

CAMP NEEDS: Many center on how quickly new-look offense finds chemistry with new starting quarterback. Two big holes to fill on line and offense lacks established depth at receiver behind Kelvin Benjamin. Plus Buffalo is introducing new philosophy under Daboll. All eyes are on Allen, first-round pick out of Wyoming, and how long it will take to develop behind former Bengals backup McCarron and returning backup Nathan Peterman.

EXPECTATIONS: Defense should be improved entering its second season, and with plenty of reinforcements. Can offense develop threat beyond McCoy, who turned 30 on July 12. Though long-term future looks bright, given young core of talent on roster, early projection is Bills might take step back in Year 2 of McDermott and Beane’s rebuilding process.



MIAMI DOLPHINS (6-10)

OPEN CAMP: July 26, Davie, Florida

LAST YEAR: Dolphins regressed in second season under Adam Gase. As rookie coach he led them to 10 wins and playoff berth, but in 2017 Dolphins never recovered from quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s season-ending knee injury in training camp, and deteriorated into wildly inconsistent LeSean McCoy Jersey , undisciplined team. They led to start fourth quarter in only two games and were outscored by 112 points, fourth worst in NFL. Owner Stephen Ross decided to keep organization’s core leadership intact, but Gase and executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum may need turnaround to keep jobs beyond this year.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: S Minkah Fitzpatrick, G Josh Sitton, DE Robert Quinn, WR Danny Amendola, WR Albert Wilson, C Daniel Kilgore, TE Mike Gesicki, RB Frank Gore, RB Kalen Ballage, QB Brock Osweiler.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: DT Ndamukong Suh, WR Jarvis Landry, C Mike Pouncey, G Jermon Bushrod, K Cody Parkey, QB Jay Cutler, QB Matt Moore, TE Julius Thomas, LB Lawrence Timmons.

CAMP NEEDS: Dolphins will count on two players with no NFL experience to assume significant roles. Linebacker Raekwon McMillan, their most promising rookie in 2017, is back after knee injury in first exhibition game ended his season. Fitzpatrick is expected to make immediate impact after being taken with 11th overall pick in April. Most of all, Gase needs to keep Tannehill healthy as quarterback comes back from two serious injuries to left knee since December 2016.

EXPECTATIONS: Tannehill became starter as rookie in 2012 and has still never taken postseason snap, and there’s plenty of reason to doubt that will change this year. While he returns, Dolphins bid adieu to three players with Pro Bowl resume Womens Josh Rosen Jersey
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