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News » Golden State Warriors Getting Inside 2008-04-21

Golden State Warriors Getting Inside 2008-04-21

Golden State Warriors Getting Inside 2008-04-21
Another year, another distinction. This time, it's one they'd rather not hold.

One season after being the first 8-seed to upset a No. 1 since the NBA went to a best-of-seven first-round format, the Warriors became the first team to win 48 games in the regular season and get shut out of the expanded postseason format.

Six more wins, one fewer playoff berth. You figure it out.

It's called being in the Western Conference. Had the Warriors been in the East -- a conference against which they went 20-10 -- they'd have finished ahead of Cleveland and been a 4-seed.

The Warriors won the season series over the defending-champion Spurs. They split games against Boston, the team with the best record in the league. And they came within a bogus call of possibly sweeping the West's No. 1 club -- the Lakers -- in a late-March home-and-home.

But they dug themselves a hole early, going 1-6 during Stephen Jackson's season-opening suspension, and only briefly climbed out. And by the time they did -- going two games up on Denver for the final playoff spot in March -- they'd exhausted so much energy, they floundered down the stretch, losing 11 of 19 and finishing two games out of the No. 8 spot.

They did it all without Jason Richardson, the high-scoring swingman who was dealt for a lottery pick in what (for this year, anyway) amounted to a cost-cutting measure. The pick, Brandan Wright, was no factor in the Warriors' season, and neither was Golden State's own first-round selection, Marco Belinelli.

The Warriors went as far as Don Nelson's coaching and the legs of Baron Davis, Monta Ellis and Jackson could take them. And that was into a final-week showdown with Denver, which they lost 115-104, and never recovered.

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: If any game typified the Warriors' season, it was their 115-111 win at the Staples Center in Los Angeles against the Lakers on March 23. When the Warriors were hot, which they were in the first half en route to 72 points and a 26-point lead, they were unstoppable. But when they shot bricks, which they did for 19 minutes of the second half as L.A. rallied to take a two-point lead, they were terrible. Unfazed, Golden State bounced back to record the much-needed win as Stephen Jackson, Monta Ellis and Baron Davis -- the trio that carried the club all season -- all made big plays down the stretch. It was the team's 20th of 21 road wins during the season, nine more than they'd totaled the year before.

TURNING POINT: Some would say it was when, in the wake of one of the most exciting playoff runs in franchise history, the Warriors broke up their nucleus by trading Jason Richardson for a draft pick. The club had depth problems all season. But the Warriors undoubtedly would have been at least a 50-win team even without Richardson and would have made the playoffs had the NBA not announced on July 15 that Stephen Jackson was being suspended for the first seven games of the season as punishment for having pleaded guilty to criminal recklessness in a gun-shooting incident in Indianapolis in 2006. The Warriors opened the season 1-6 in Jackson's absence, losing their first six games. If Jackson had received a slap on the wrist and the Warriors won even just two more of those games with him in the lineup, they would have gone into the final night of the season needing just to beat a bad Seattle team to make a second consecutive trip to the playoffs.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: April 21, 2008


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