The Golden State Warriors were supposed to just be happy to be there.
The franchise had only two playoff berths in the last 19 years looked to have a promising future, but weren’t expected to advance past the Denver Nuggets in the first round.
Suddenly the Golden State Warriors look like they could contend for the NBA title. On the strength of stellar guard play — they have arguably the best backcourt in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson — the Warriors have tied the series with the Spurs at two wins apiece.
While it will still be an uphill battle to beat the Spurs, the Warriors can no longer be considered underdogs. After coming back from down eight points in the final minutes of Game 4 against the Spurs, the Warriors outscored them 13-3 in overtime.
“This is the greatest group of guys I’ve been around, a bunch of warriors, no pun intended,” said Golden State coach Mark Jackson. “We won this game the last 17 minutes by not turning the basketball over. With four minutes to go, they had 82 points. We are a defensive-minded team.”
The Warriors have been resilient in the playoffs. They were cut down early, losing David Lee in Game 1 of the opening round series with the Denver Nuggets. The All-Star forward tore his right hip flexor in the team’s 97-95 loss, and appeared he would miss the rest of playoffs. But Lee has been able to return for limited minutes.
Golden State has also been adept at recovering from sloppy play. After Klay Thompson struggled shooting in the first round, he exploded for 34 points and 14 rebounds in Game 2 against the Spurs.
The Golden State Warriors seem to have a bright future with Thompson, who replaced Monta Ellis two years ago
“The move to the traditional backcourt of Curry at point and the bigger Thompson at the off-guard allows the Warriors to defend better than it could previously with Ellis,” writes Jimmy Spencer, lead NBA writer for Bleacher Report. “Thompson is just now gaining more notice for his top-notch defensive abilities. He is able to use his long arms and equally long strides to challenge opposing guards and wings.”
The Golden State Warriors take on the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday at 9:30 pm ET.