The team of the NBA playoffs, at least from a neutral fan’s perspective, has without a doubt been the Golden State Warriors. After running past the Denver Nuggets in the only true upset of the first round, they have given the San Antonio all they can handle through five games. However, it was Game 5 that showed the difference between an upstart team and a veteran team that simply knows how to win.
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the rest of the young Warriors looked baffled at times in Game 5, as the Spurs started playing like they did most of the regular season. Actually, more like how they have played for the last few seasons.
Tony Parker, despite playing at less than 100%, carved up Golden State’s defense to the tune of 25 points and 10 assists. Manu Ginobili, who missed most of the end of the regular season due to an injury, played well in limited action, and he seems to be feeling more and more comfortable as the playoffs go along. Finally, the ageless Tim Duncan put up another solid performance of 14 points and 11 rebounds to go along with anchoring the defense.
When teams get to the business end of a series, it usually takes veterans and experience as a team to have success. Even super teams on paper such as the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers couldn’t overcome this during their first season together. That is why it is becoming more and more evident that a team with four rookie rotation players can’t knock off the Spurs in a seven game series.
The Warriors certainly do not feel they are out of this just yet, nor should they. However, history says that even if they can scrape out a win in Game 6, the return trip to San Antonio could be rough. If you play fantasy basketball the smart money is on the Spurs. Regardless, every championship team goes through growing pains before taking the next step. Look for the Warriors to be a team on the rise after a strong playoff showing in 2013. At the end of the day, fans of the team can only hope that the core can stay together and at some point be a veteran squad with experience like their opponents.