The Warriors have gone further in this year’s NBA playoffs than they have at any time in the past 36 years. That’s right … the last time Golden State found itself this deep in the postseason it was 1977, when the Warriors lost in seven games to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals.
So, no matter how it ends up, the Warriors have had an incredible season.
But the question now is: Can the season become even more incredible?
Well, for that to happen, the Warriors are going to have to find a way to knock off the second-seeded Spurs a couple of more times. They’ve knocked them off twice on their way to a 2-2 series tie; now they have to win two out of the next three, with a pair ensured in San Antonio.
But if you’ve followed the Warriors this postseason, you certainly wouldn’t want to put it past them. Coach Mark Jackson has his team playing its best basketball at the most important time – and anything seems possible.
The Warriors rallied from an eight-point, fourth-quarter deficit on Sunday afternoon at Oracle Arena, and beat the Spurs in overtime. They won the game like they’ve won a lot of postseason games – and regular-season games, too, for that matter – by getting multiple contributions from multiple sources.
On Sunday, rookie Harrison Barnes became a source, and in a big way. He finished with a game-high 26 points, and he turned into the one mismatch the Warriors could count on time and time again down the floor.
Barnes went just 9-for-26 from the field, but in the context of that particular game it was a very good performance. When one team shoots 36 percent (Spurs) and one team shoots 38 percent (Warriors), it’s less about shooting percentage and more about just putting the ball in the bucket at all.
Barnes, of course, wasn’t the only hero. Jarrett Jack was magnificent down the stretch and in overtime, and hit the game’s biggest shots.
It’s difficult to imagine where the Warriors would be this year without Jack, who has consistently made big shot after big shot from opening night until last night.
No doubt, Jack struggled in Game 3 on Friday night in Oracle – a 102-92 Spurs’ victory. But he’s one of the best players on the team at creating his own shot, and perhaps more important, he’s not afraid to take it.
Jack might try to do too much at times, but that approach has been mostly successful for the Warriors over the course of the season. It’s unrealistic to believe he’s going to become an observer at this point.
If the Warriors are going to win Game 5 in San Antonio – which would mean consecutive wins after 30 consecutive losses in that city – Andrew Bogut will probably be a big part of it. Despite foul trouble in Game 4, Bogut still found a way to grab 18 rebounds and help limit Tim Duncan to just 7-for-22 from the floor.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have made the Warriors go this postseason, but the Warriors need Bogut clicking to be at their absolute best.
Which is what you figure they’ll have to be to win a Game 5 against an elite team on the road. Can the Warriors actually go into San Antonio and win another game? Well, if you say they can’t, you obviously haven’t been paying attention.