As a Golden State Warriors lifer I have waited for this since I was a young tike sitting on my mom’s lap at the ole Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Watching Rick Barry light it up from deep, Clifford Ray with monster slam dunks, CJ hitting jumpers from the right base-line and Jamaal “silk” Wilkes going for 20 night in and night out. With the great Bill King regaling the Warriors faithful with “Holy Toledo.”
With 67 wins and the best record in the Association the Warriors are considered the favorites to come out of the Western Conference. The only blemishes to the Warriors 39-2 home record was an early season loss to San Antonio and an overtime defeat to Chicago. Other than those losses the Warriors were flawless at home. They also went an amazing 28-13 on the road, winning most of their games on the home floors of their very tough Western Conference brethren.
I will not be christening the Warriors just yet, but I am feeling very good about the Warriors draw in the first few rounds. In the playoffs nothing is ever easy and I feel the New Orleans Pelicans will give the Dubs all they can handle. Anthony Davis is a superstar. His emergence helped propel the Pelicans into the playoffs and save head coach Monty Williams’ job. New Orleans has great depth. Some of the same questions that were being asked of the up and coming Warriors three years ago are now being asked about the Pelicans. With guards Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans, New Orleans is more than capable in the back-court. I do believe the Warriors can take advantage of Gordon on the offensive end. He is undersized and is not a good defender. He will have his hands full trying to contain Klay Thompson.
The front-court is where the Pelicans pose their biggest challenge. Anthony Davis will have to be contained, but he will not be stopped. The Warriors will have difficulties stopping Davis. Draymond Green will have to allow Davis his points and not pick up cheap fouls in trying to challenge him. Andrew Bogut will not be able to hang with Davis. It is the one true mis-match the Pelicans have. But, it is the only mis-match they have. Omer Asik is capable and can be a nuisance down low, but he is not in Bogut’s class. At every other position the Warriors are better. Plain and simple if the Warriors play as well as we have seen them play all year. They should win this series in 5 games. I give the Pelicans a game at home. Anthony Davis’ greatness allows the Pelicans to get a game.
Many national prognosticators are citing the Warriors lack of experience. Huh ? What ? This is the third straight year the Dubs have been in the post-season. Two years ago they beat the higher seeded Denver Nuggets and took the San Antonio Spurs to six games in a series that could have gone either way. Last year without an injured Andrew Bogut the Warriors stretched the Clippers to seven games before falling at the Staples Center. This team is tested. They have been through playoff wars. This is nothing new to the Warriors and they will handle it in a business-like fashion.
Golden State’s offensive and defensive prowess is un-matched. They are the top offensive and defensive team in the league. The last team to lead the league in both categories was the 72-win Chicago Bulls. My presumptive MVP is Steph Curry. At better than 23 points a game he has done everything and then-some to lead this team to unchartered territory. Klay Thompson not only scores 21 a game but is also considered one of the best defenders from the 2-guard spot. Thompson can defend three different positions on the floor and he also makes 43 percent of his three-point tries. Harrison Barnes is a huge X-Factor in this post-season. Barnes can not disappear in this series or in any series. He needs to produce to propel the Warriors deep in this run. We have run out of superlatives for Draymond Green. He is simply the heart-and-soul of the club. He is vital for the Championship aspirations. While Curry is the team’s best player, Green is their guts. A fearless competitor who is constantly attacking and competing. Andrew Bogut is the defensive force that is the back-bone of this top-ranked defense. He patrols the paint and cleans up mis-cues on the perimeter by shutting down drives to the rim. Bogut must stay out of foul trouble and must stay healthy.
The Dubs bench is a tremendous strength. Andre Iguodala and David Lee could have thrown fits and turned this thing sour. Instead, they both accepted their roles as bench players and let other player’s shine. The unselfishness of these two is a huge reason why the Warriors had a record-setting regular season. Head coach Steve Kerr will ask both Iguodala and Lee to play big and important minutes in the post-season. Shaun Livingston gives the Warriors a more-than-capable back up point guard and Leandro Barbosa is an electrifying scorer that can put points on the board in bunches. Festus Ezeli will important manning the middle when Bogut needs breathers. Ezeli is an under-rated interior defender that can change shots and grab big boards. Justin Holiday and Brandon Rush are complimentary pieces. If these two need to play extended minutes then the Warriors are either blowing teams out, or…the Warriors are in big trouble.
With the Spurs losing to the Pelicans on Wednesday night the Warriors could not have asked for a better set-up in the West. The Dubs avoid the Spurs, Clippers, Rockets and Mavericks in the first two rounds of the Western Conference playoffs. Many said the Spurs had nothing to play for on Wednesday…..NOT TRUE. The Spurs had everything to play for and failed. Instead of being a two-seed and getting home court advantage in series’ against the Clippers, Memphis and Houston, they lost and now do not have home court advantage in any of those series.
If the Warriors beat the Pelicans they would play the winner of the Memphis and Portland series. Three months ago a match-up with the Grizzlies would have terrified me, not anymore. Memphis is not the same team and is so limited offensively that they just don’t have the weapons to win a seven game series against the Warriors. Curry and company will not allow the game to be played at Memphis’ pace. Portland is decimated by injury. Losing sixth-man extrordinarre Wes Matthews and having LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum nurse injuries is too much for the Blazers. I just don’t see them winning a seven-game series against the Warriors either.
The only way the Warriors would see defending champion San Antonio, the Clippers or Houston would be if they advanced to the Western Conference Finals. That is exactly where the Warriors want to see them…..not sooner.
I have the Warriors beating Pelicans in 5. It will the Warriors and Grizzlies in the 2nd round.
Save me a seat DubNation !!!