Consistency has eluded the Golden State Warriors this season.
After a 10-game win-streak to bridge 2013 and 2014, the Warriors struggled in their final 15 games before the All-Star break, winning only two consecutive games once. The Warriors have dropped to the eighth seed in the Western Conference, a spot that they hope to not be in come April and May. If the season ended today, the Warriors would play the best team in the Western Conference: the Oklahoma City Thunder. That’s not an ideal first round matchup for a team with championship aspirations.
The Warriors have not looked good in 2014, losing far too many home games for a team of their caliber, but they are still a half game back of the sixth-seeded Houston Rockets.
The Warriors postseason history shows that being a higher seed does not mean you are going to be successful in the playoffs. Last season the 47-35 Warriors finished second in the Pacific division and were the sixth seed in the Western Conference. They defeated the higher- seeded Denver Nuggets in six games before falling to the more experienced San Antonio Spurs in the second round in a series they let slip out of their hands.
The Warriors have multiple players who can get hot and carry them to victory. In Game 2 of the Nuggets series, Stephen Curry had 30 points and 13 assists. That night, without David Lee, three other starters also had more than 20 points. In the series clinching game, Klay Thompson shot a woeful 3-of-13 and had a mere seven points, but Andrew Bogut had 14 points and hauled in 21 rebounds. Draymond Green had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Curry had a modest 22 points and eight assists. Thompson can easily make six or seven threes in a game and turn what could be a poor offensive night into a high-scoring affair.
Against the Nuggets last year, the Warriors won Game 6 92-88, Game 2 131-117, and Game 4 115-111. The Warriors play was not consistent to say the least, but with stellar individual performances when it mattered most, the Warriors advanced.
The “We Believe” Warriors in 2006-2007 were the same way. They were a meager 42-40 and finished third in the Pacific division, sneaking into the playoffs as the eighth seed. But they beat the number-one seeded Dallas Mavericks 4-2 in the first round before losing to a superior Utah Jazz team in five games. Dallas was by far the more consistent team all season winning 67 games and looking like a perennial championship favorite, but thanks to a 33 point, 14 rebound, eight assist game from Baron Davis, the Warriors stole Game 1 on the Mavericks home floor. In Game 6, small forward Stephen Jackson hit what was at the time a franchise playoff record seven three-pointers and scored 13 consecutive points to blow open the Warriors lead. He finished the game with 33 points in the Warriors closeout 11-86 victory.
The Warriors have never consistently won during the regular season. They haven’t had a 50 win season since 1993-94 where they got swept in the first round by the Phoenix Suns 3-0. The Warriors 1975-76 team won a team record 59 games, but the defending champions lost to the Suns in the Western Conference finals in seven hard fought games.
The Warriors may not play the most consistent basketball during the regular season, but because of Curry and Thompson they have a chance to win any and every postseason game they play. They need to make the playoffs first, but if and when they get in, all bets are off.
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