By: Monte Perez
The Golden State Warriors became the fastest team in NBA history to win 50 games with a 102-92 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night. The Warriors are now on pace to break the NBA record of 72 wins (Set by the Chicago Bulls in 1995-96). Sports talk radio shows and social media have already begun to compare the two teams. Let’s not do that, the two teams were in total different eras. The Bulls teams was great defensively but struggled at times offensively. Micheal Jordan averaged 30, Scottie Pippen 19 and Toni Kucok 13 points per game. The Warriors have 5 players who could score 20 points any given night. They have a record of 50-5 and they won most of their games with Head Coach Steve Kerr recovering from back surgery.
As a former college basketball coach an NBA Historian, I can only compare the Warriors to one team, the 1985-86 Boston Celtics. That Celtics team went 67-15 during the regular season and 15-3 in the playoffs. Boston had two low post scorers in Robert Parish and Kevin McHale. The Warriors don’t have that but both teams share the basketball and thrive when being unselfish. Ball movement and giving up a good shot for a great shot is where they are similar. Draymond Green is playing the role of Celtics legend Larry Bird. He can stretch the floor by shooting the three point shot and he leads the team in Rebounds (9.7) and assists (7.3).
The Warriors are 1st in the NBA in scoring (115 points per game), 1st in 3 point shooting (41.8%) and 1st in assists (29.1 per game). As great as these stats appear to be, they are misleading. Stephen Curry leads the league in scoring (averaging 29.1 points per game) and he hasn’t played in 16 fourth quarters. The Warriors rest their starters in blowouts yet they still score 115 points per game.
I have seen teams like Pat Riley’s Knicks, Michael Jordan’s ‘Bulls and the Rockets with Hakeem Olajuwon impose their will and control another team with defense. I have never seen a team control an opponent with offense. They come at you like a tidal wave. Recently San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said, “Right now, we have no answers for them.”
I am sure part of this was “tongue and cheek” but Pop has a point. Last year during the post-season the Memphis Grizzlies had some success slowing the Warriors down. LeBron James was masterful in controlling the tempo in the NBA Finals for two games, but you can’t beat Golden State over 7 games with defense or by slowing the pace of the game consistently. You are eventually going to have to outscore them because they are just too talented and deep on the offensive end.
(They put so much pressure on defense and your offense as well because if you go two or three trips without scoring you could be down 9 points.)
There are only three teams in the NBA that have a chance to beat the Warriors in the playoffs
Oklahoma City- 2nd in the NBA in Scoring, 109.6 points per game.
San Antonio – 6th in the NBA in Scoring, 105.2 points per game.
Cleveland – 9th in the NBA in Scoring 102.9.
The Cavaliers have increased their scoring under new head coach, Tyronn Lue . They had a 10 game stretch where they averaged 111 points per game.
This Warriors team is the greatest shooting team ever assembled. OKC, SA and The Cavs will have their work cut out for them in the post-season.
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