Last week the Golden State Warriors advanced past the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the NBA playoffs, garnering attention from not only the Bay Area but the entire country.
The Warriors have captivated NBA fans through their blistering three-point shooting and infectious youthful exuberance. Steph Curry’s jumper has been declared as a weapon of mass destruction. Curry set the NBA regular season record for three-pointers made and has continued his hot shooting in the playoffs. Although he doesn’t look a day older than 16, Curry has the confidence and temperament of a 12-year veteran. Curry has tormented his opponents from every section of the court with his prolific jumper especially in the third quarter of games.
Curry’s third quarters have been basketball porn with his array of dazzling jumpers and scoop shots. He splurged on scoring sprees of 22 and 29 points during third quarters, while averaged 10.3 points while shooting a ridiculous 68 percent from the field and 58 percent on threes. What separates Curry from other great shooters is his quick release, ability to shoot off the dribble and passing skills. Both the Nuggets and Spurs have struggled to defend Curry shooting off the dribble in pick & rolls and in transition due to his lighting quick release. Furthermore, Curry can easily navigate double-teams with his phenomenal passing and ball handling skills leaving opposing coaches in quite the predicament. The only obstacle impeding Curry’s path are his glass ankles. Curry tweaked his left ankle twice during the playoffs, a recurrent issue in Curry’s career.
The Warriors have surrounded Curry with proficient, young shooters: Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes. Their shooting ability has contributed to the Warriors fast-paced entertaining brand of basketball. Thompson and Barnes are the Warriors’ two most recent draft picks, and each of them adds their own dynamic to the team. Thompson is a great shooter, and at 6 feet 7 inches tall, he provides the Warriors with sound on-ball defense; Barnes is an athletic 6-feet-8-inch forward who brings outside shooting along with strong finishing skills at the rim. In game 1, Warriors power forward, David Lee, went down with a season-ending hip injury. Even though Lee was a major contributor to the offense, the injury was a blessing in disguise. Lee’s injury allowed the smaller more athletic Barnes to fill his minutes at power forward, which significantly improved the Warriors’ spacing on offense.
However, the most important aspect of the Warriors’ success may be the most mundane. Andrew Bogut’s emergence as a defensive anchor differentiates the Warriors from title contender to harmless threat. Bogut spent most of the season recovering from a leg injury and was rounding into shape heading into the playoffs. The seven-foot Australian is a former number-one pick who was dealt to the Warriors for Monta Ellis. When healthy, Bogut is one of the best two-way centers in basketball providing excellent interior defense along with soft hands and finishing skills on the offensive end. Bogut’s health is imperative to the playoff success for the Warriors.
America has adopted the Warriors during the NBA playoffs. Let’s just hope Cinderella’s carriage doesn’t turn back into a pumpkin.