The Golden State Warriors just finished with the best record in NBA history at 73-9, but will their quest for historical greatness cost them in the 2016 NBA playoffs?
Short answer: no. Despite having an up-and-down final two weeks, Stephen Curry and co. look primed for another dominant run to the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Here are the main reasons why they will go back-to-back this spring.
3) Winning chemistry
A recurring theme in the Warriors' 73-win season was their ability to edge out games in situations where most other teams would have folded. Being down double-digits in the fourth quarter means little to a group with the 3-point shooting prowess of Golden State, particularly when Curry or Klay Thompson is pulling the trigger. In games decided by five points or less in 2015-16, the Warriors went 13-2, showing their ability to come through in clutch situations. In the pressure-packed playoffs, the intangible will to win often makes the difference in a close series.
2) Fatigue is not a factor
Head coach Steve Kerr has done a good job limiting the playing time of his starters down the stretch. Looking at the league's minutes leaderboard, no Warrior can be found in the top 20 -- Draymond Green is the team leader at 34.7 minutes per game (23rd in NBA). Furthermore, two of the team's main bench contributors, sixth man Andre Iguodala and backup center Festus Ezeli, both have fresh legs after being eased into action over the final games of the regular season. Add in the likelihood that the Warriors will likely finish a couple series in four or five games, and they should have plenty of juice heading into the NBA Finals.
1) Mental edge over the Spurs
Let's face it: The Warriors and San Antonio Spurs are the two best teams in the NBA, and the rest of the league trails them by a country mile. While the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors could both take a game or two against these teams in a seven-game set, the Western Conference Finals will crown the best team in the Association. Going into the postseason, Golden State has a huge mental edge on Gregg Popovich's Spurs, having won their April 10 matchup to take the season series 3-1 and spoil San Antonio's perfect homecourt record. While the veteran Spurs are anything but mentally weak, their confidence had to have taken a hit after losing to the Warriors twice in the final week of the season.Back to the Golden State Warriors Newsfeed
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