Friday night there was some history made for the Golden State Warriors as a franchise, as they beat the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center (the Dubs haven’t won in Staples Center since 2008) 112-95. With the victory the Warriors have made it to the playoffs for a second year in a row. The Warriors haven’t had back-to-back postseason appearances since 1992. Golden State also won the season series vs the Lakers for the first time since the 1994-1995 NBA season.
The Warriors health situation improved last night with the return of power forward David Lee who has been out the last seven games with a nerve inflammation in his right leg. Lee registered a double-double scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds and played 25 minutes in his return. Stephen Curry was spectacular once again, he tallied his 4th triple-double of the season, scoring 30 points (4-5 from three) dishing out 12 assists and grabbing 10 rebounds. He became the first Warriors with four or more triple-doubles in a season since Wilt Chamberlain in 1963 (he had 5). Curry prior to this season just had one triple-double in his career
It was a different mood when it came to clinching a playoff berth this time around. Last year the Warriors were a young team team with low-expectations and were just “happy to be in the playoffs” and celebrating just getting there. This time around there was no celebrating or shouting, now it’s just a “next game mentality” for the Dubs.
“We are not that far removed from dreaming of this moment,” Head Coach Mark Jackson said after the win, “(But) we know we’re a good basketball team now. That’s why you don’t see shouting and screaming — We expected to be here. We celebrated the moment, and now we’re on to bigger things.”
The Warriors will likely remain as the sixth seed in the Western Conference, which means they will likely be facing off against, the Los Angeles Clippers, a division rival. The regular season series between the two teams is tied at two games a piece and it was a very physical match-up which resulted in ejections (some of them were terrible calls) and scuffles between the teams. The Clippers have been a great team all year under head coach Doc Rivers’ first season with the team, and are probably not an ideal opponent the Warriors want to face off against in the first round, but due the depth of the conference the Warriors don’t have much choices as every playoff team in the West are playing some of their best basketball.
The Warriors still have work to do first they need to be healthy in time for the playoffs even though David Lee is back, nerve inflammation is never a good thing and Andre Iguodala sat out Friday night’s game with knee tendinitis which has been going on for awhile. Second they have a tough match-up against the Portland Trailblazers Sunday night at the Rose Garden, as the Warriors also aim to have their first 50 win regular season since the 1993-1994 season, when the rookie Chris Webber was on the team.
I can hear that Oracle Arena crowd already rounding themselves into playoff form.