Not many people expected the Golden State Warriors to have a really successful 2012-2013 NBA season. The few that predicted them to make the playoffs really didn’t have them much higher than a contender for the eight-seed in the Western Conference. They were expected to be good, but not really on the level of a quality playoff team yet.
However, with their 105-89 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night, the Warriors clinched a berth in the NBA Playoffs for only the second time in the past 19 years. Not only have they clinched a berth in the postseason, but they’ve done so as they currently occupy the six-seed in the West, a much better seed than anyone expected them to have.
The Warriors have obviously been fueled by their sharp shooting backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and the solid play down low by David Lee. Curry and Thompson are both shooting over 40 percent from beyond-the-arc this season (Curry being top-five in the NBA in three-point percentage) while Curry is averaging 22.5 points per game and Thompson is averaging 16.4 points per game. Lee is averaging 18.6 points and 11.3 rebounds per game on 51.6 percent shooting from the field.
Although they have played above most people’s expectations this season and have seen some fantastic seasons by their players, there is still work to do in the regular season for the Warriors. They currently hold just a one-game lead over the Houston Rockets with just four games remaining for each team.
The difference between the six-seed and the seven-seed in the West is absolutely crucial because of matchups in the first round. Because of that, the Warriors can’t become wrapped up in simply making the playoffs and need to focus on holding onto the six-seed, especially with their upcoming schedule that features three teams above .500. They need to keep their focus and intensity high over the next four games or it could severely diminish their chances in the playoffs.