The Paly Voice

Opinion: Better luck next year, Golden State

Jack Shapiro, Author

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What a year for Bay Area sports. The Giants won their second World Series in three years, the 49ers reached the Superbowl, and for the first time in six years the Golden State Warriors are playoff bound. And with the West wide open this year it would seem the perfect year for the Warriors to make a deep run.

There’s only one problem: with the West so talented, the playoffs become less about ability and more about matchups.

The Warriors have had a magical season and exceeded expectations, but it was only enough to propel them into the sixth seed, only one better than inconsistent and injury-plagued Los Angeles Lakers. As a result, the Warriors will face the Denver Nuggets, the surprise three seed in the West.

The Warriors are a scoring machine and have two of the best three-point shooters in the NBA in Curry and Klay. But their firepower from behind the arc is running headlong into possibly the one team, aside from the Thunder, that boast more offensive firepower.

The Denver Nuggets are second in the league, only to Houston, in number of possessions per game. They are also fifth in the league in offensive efficiency (the number of points scored per hundred possessions) while Golden States comes in at only ten. Plainly speaking, the Nuggets get up and down the floor. And they do it well.

With a cast of second-rate stars, the Nuggets do not rely on any single star, and because of this are very difficult to defend. Danillo Gallinari’s season-ending ACL tear is not nearly as devastating as many make it out to be for the Nuggets. On a team with the scoring burden as evenly distributed as the Nuggets, no one injury can be as devastating as one of a superstar, like Kobe Bryant’s Achilles tear last week.

This is why, despite the amazing numbers and improvements of the Golden State Warriors, they will meet their match in the first round. Stealing a game at the mile high city is nearly impossible, as the Nuggets boast the best record at home in the entire NBA at 38-3.

There is no denying this series will be interesting and high scoring. But Denver is better at Golden State’s game than Golden State is, and after a breakthrough season the Warriors got matched up with the one team they cannot afford to play in the first round. George Karl’s Nuggets will fastbreak the Warriors into exhaustion, and the Warrior’s inexperience will play a factor as well. I predict that the road comes to an end for the Warriors in five games. Better luck next year, Golden State.

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