In a typical final week game in the NBA, there was one team with nothing to play for against a team with everything to play for. Facing a Dallas Mavericks team that rested four starters, the Golden State Warriors inched closer towards their first playoff berth in 13 years. In doing so, they gain a large mental edge over the top seeded Mavericks. The Mavericks are 66-15, with three of those losses coming against the Warriors.
Down the stretch, this team has played some of the best basketball in the entire league. They’re 7-1 this month with their lone loss coming on the road against San Antonio. Their win over a depleted Mavericks’ squad might mean little to Dallas. But for an upstart team like the Warriors, it means the world.
Here’s why the Warriors have a pretty good fighting shot in the first round of the playoffs, assuming they take care of business tonight in Portland. Their uptempo style is perfect for combating Dallas or Phoenix. Don Nelson took over the job this past offseason with the intentions of turning the Warriors into the fastest team in the league. Acquisitions of athletes like Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington have been perfect for their style.
Personally, I’m rooting for the Warriors to finish the job tonight. They have great players like Baron Davis and Jason Richardson that deserve their time to shine in the postseason spotlight. They’re certainly not going to be an easy out. Their 30-11 home record is 4th best in the Western Conference; their scoring average of 106.3 PPG is 2nd in the NBA. It should make for an exciting series. A win tonight will ensure that series happens.