By defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night by the score of 105-89, the Golden State Warriors clinched their first playoff berth since 2007 and only their second playoff berth in the past 19 seasons.
While the Warriors will not know the playoff seed until the end of the season, there are many reasons to believe why they could potentially force a first-round upset. Regardless of whom they face in the first round of the playoffs, the Warriors are a dark horse team.
They’ve done it before
Remember the last time the Warriors made the playoffs? The Dallas Mavericks sure do. As a No. 8 seed facing off against the Western Conference team with the best regular season record, the Warriors defied the odds and created one of the most memorable moments in franchise history.
Effective on offense and defense
The Warriors have been one of the more dynamic and effective offenses in recent history, particularly behind the 3-point line. Unlike past seasons, the same could not be said for the team’s defense, which has drastically improved this season on both an individual and team level. While there have definitely been some down moments on both sides of the ball for the team, their balance and strengths on offense and defense have made them a dangerous playoff team.
Solid depth from top to bottom
With a healthy Andrew Bogut, the Warriors have a solid starting lineup from top to bottom. With Stephen Curry, David Lee and Klay Thompson serving as the featured scorers and invaluable bench leaders Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry guiding the second unit, the team just seems to have the right mesh of star power, depth and, most importantly, chemistry.
They have nothing to lose
Somewhat along the same train of thought as the 2007 “We Believe” squad, the Warriors will do their best making the most of this opportunity. Exceeding almost all preseason expectations, Golden State is not fighting for the final playoff spot this season and will hopefully play with the same youthful exuberance, excitement and energy that brought them to this point in their season. Perhaps it could even bring a first-round playoff series win over the Denver Nuggets or Los Angeles Clippers or Memphis Grizzlies…
Follow and interact with Austin Chang on Twitter @_austinchang.
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