NBA Playoffs: Are the Golden State Warriors Redefining Expectations?

Andy HuSenior Writer IIMay 9, 2013

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 08:  Head coach Mark Jackson talks with Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 8, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors came into the playoffs as the clear underdogs. They were never expected to win against the third-seeded Denver Nuggets in the first round before the playoffs even started.

After David Lee went down with a torn hip flexor, the odds of the Warriors getting out of the first-round took an even bigger blow.

However, behind Stephen Curry's shooting performance and the team's suffocating defense, they were able to win the series in six games and advance to the second round for just the first time since 2007.

But were the Warriors supposed to be better than the Nuggets? Mark Jackson is definitely a player's coach and an inspirational leader in the locker room but is he really behind the Warriors' uncanny playoff success thus far?

Not only did the Warriors already exceed everyone's expectations by getting past the first-round, but they look like a playoff-tested team that's been playing together for years, even though they aren't.



The Struggling San Antonio Spurs


In the second-round of the playoffs, the Warriors once again entered with a bang.

In the first two games, they have led by at least 18 points in each contest. Not only that, but they seemingly built up their lead with relative ease.

Bar the last few minutes of the fourth quarter in Game 1, the Warriors maintained their defensive gameplan throughout most of the game and were able to suffocate both Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

Obviously players may have a bad game every now and then, especially since the Spurs might've had to brush off some rust during that game.

But, it happened again.

The Warriors found themselves up 19 points in the middle of the third quarter in Game 2 and were able to hold onto the lead this time and come out with the victory, led by Klay Thompson's 34-point performance.

Once again, Parker and Ginobili struggled against the Warriors' defense and they were largely ineffective for the entire game.



Time to Appreciate


Is it finally time to realize that this Warriors team is the real deal?

It's not luck that the Warriors have been winning—they simply outplayed two of the Western Conference powerhouses so far in the playoffs on both ends of the court.

In just one trip to the playoffs, there are a few things that have changed everyone's outlook of this team. Curry became a bona fide superstar, Andrew Bogut can still make a huge impact despite all his injuries, and the Warriors have suddenly become a favorite to ignite a Cinderella playoff run.

Not to mention, all of the Warriors rookies have made significant contributions in their playoff success thus far. Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green have taken major strides during the playoffs, and their playoff averages trump their regular season numbers across the board.

Before the playoffs even started, the Warriors were looking at a first-round elimination.

Now they're looking like the favorites to win this matchup against the Spurs and advance to the Western Conference Finals.