In a Golden State


Andrew Zhang, Staff Writer

How does one respond to criticism? Use it to improve, let it go to the head or use it to prove the doubters wrong? In professional sports, it is generally the latter.

“You need luck in the West…They didn’t have to play us or the Spurs.” – Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers Head Coach

“I thought Steph was just chillin’ on defense – and then going crazy on offense. He looked like he was just putting shots up and not working so much on the defensive end. He would just come down and hit three or four 3s. He can shoot when he’s got his legs under him.” – Ty Lawson, Houston Rockets Player

“…But you need some breaks. Golden State was the best team in the league, but they also had everything go right for them. They didn’t have one bad break.” – J.J. Reddick, Los Angeles Clippers Player

“They’ve had a terrific season.  But I don’t like jump-shooting teams. I don’t think you can make enough jumpers to win four series in a row…” – Charles Barkley, NBA TNT Analyst

These people were referring to the Golden State Warriors, the team that won the NBA Finals this past summer.  They finished last season with 67 wins and 15 losses and look even better this year.  They have torched the league en route to starting with an NBA record 24 straight wins.  Through their first 27 games this season, the Warriors have only one loss.

The Warriors have had a couple of close calls during their record start.  They were able to beat the Brooklyn Nets in extra time, but only after a Nets player missed a point blank shot at the end of regulation.  Two games later, the Warriors found themselves facing a 23-point deficit against the Los Angeles Clippers.  They were able to stage a rally and emerge victorious.  Then, a few games down the road, the Warriors were able to triumph over the Toronto Raptors in a close and well-played game by a slim margin of three points.  Their lone loss came at the hands of Milwaukee Bucks on the last stop of a seven game road trip, when they weren’t able to pull off another comeback.

Not all of their wins have been close, as most of them have been by a wide margin of victory.  These include a 50-point blowout against the Memphis Grizzlies and 34-point victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.  They have beaten teams by an average of almost 13.5 points per game.

Reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry is leading the Warriors and averages 32 points per game.  Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Festus Ezeli have been key to the Warrior’s early season success.  While Head Coach Steve Kerr is recovering from back surgery, Luke Walton has guided this team and uses the same principles that Coach Kerr uses.

The Warriors have become the talk of the NBA.  Their style of play, notably the “small-ball lineup” where speed is favored over height, has caused some teams to imitate them.  This has led to some mixed results. However, in the face of criticism, the Warriors have drastically improved over the past two seasons.  They have responded very well and proven they are one of the elite teams in the league, even if there is a touch of “luck” involved.