For the first time since the early 1990’s, the Warriors are in the playoffs in two consecutive seasons. You would be surprised to know that the reason for their return to the playoffs is their defense. Golden State’s offense is strong and in the top half of the league in efficiency, but the team’s defense is among the elite of the league. Mark Jackson has taken the Warriors’ defense from the cellar to the penthouse in his time as head coach. Led by Andrew Bogut’s interior presence and Andre Iguodala’s pressure defense, the team is able to create many fast-break opportunities.
Although Golden State Warriors playoff tickets have among the highest NBA playoff premiums in 2014, the product is worth the price. There are 9,614 tickets remaining on the secondary market to see first-round games at Oracle Arena. The average price of those tickets is $270.31, which is 138.33 percent more than the regular-season price of $113.42.
With all of their offensive weapons, the Warriors move the ball very well. They own a strong assist rate and had one of the league’s best stretches in the last few seasons. From mid-December to mid-January, the Warriors put together 17 straight games when they had more assists than their opponent. At that time, it was the longest streak for any NBA team since 2010.
The impressive part of the Warriors’ season has been how well they have handled the basketball over the last few months of the season. Midway through 2013-14, Golden State had one of the worst turnover rates in the NBA. However, in the second half of the season, they held onto the ball and did not make costly turnovers. If they can continue that trend in the playoffs, the Warriors should continue to win.
The Warriors also should have success in the playoffs because they will not be playing any back-to-back sets. They struggled when they played on no rest this season, but had a very good record when playing with one day in between games. The Warriors may be a young team, but they have some veteran bench players in Jermaine O’Neal and Steve Blake. Those two will definitely take advantage of the extra rest.
Young guns Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson need to be on fire for the Warriors to be a surprise team in the Western Conference, but that can sure happen any night at Oracle Arena.