With their 116-99 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night, the Golden State Warriors improved their record to 20-0 on the year and continued to embark on what may be the greatest opening to any season in the history of professional sports. And while we can’t begin to imagine what this must feel like for the defending NBA champions, superstar Stephen Curry, whose personal start to the season has been just as electrifying, is having a hard time believing it himself, as he explained to ESPN:
It doesn’t even sound right. In the NBA, with so many good players and good teams, to be able to put on a run like this is special. We don’t always play our best, but we find ways to win. That’s the strength of our team. Every night a different guy might step up and have a huge game and do the little things that don’t show up in the stat sheet.
After capturing the title last season, many people questioned whether the Warriors were lucky, rather than talented. However, as we’ve been reminded fairly quickly this 2015-16 season, luck has nothing to do with it. The Golden State Warriors have been utterly unstoppable. Here are five reasons why.
1. Too good from three
Three points are better than two. It’s a fact. And no team in the NBA has found more success utilizing this principle than the Golden State Warriors. Through their first 20 games of the season, the Dubs lead the league in total three-pointers made (267), three-pointers made per game (13.4), and the three-point field-goal percentage (43.3%). Throw in the fact that 34.7% of the Warriors’ points come from beyond the arc — once again, tops in the league — and the math pretty much speaks for itself. The Dubs are money (from three-point land).
2. Beasts on the boards
Another key to winning basketball games is to take full advantage of every opportunity while limiting your opponent’s ability to do the same. This can be done through rebounding. And once again, Golden State does work in this respect. At this point in the year, the Warriors lead the NBA in defensive rebounds (708) and total rebounds (927), while pulling down a total of 46.4 boards a game (fifth in the NBA). To defeat Golden State, a team will have to outwork them on the glass. As you can see from these numbers, that’s easier said than done.
3. Love to assist
Not only are the Warriors the most offensively efficient team in the NBA (holding an offensive rating of 113.7), but they managed to become that way through unrivaled teamwork and ridiculously selfless play. On the year, the Dubs have the most assists in the league (589), average the most assists per game (29.5), have the highest assist percentage (69.4%), and hold the NBA’s top assist ratio (20.8). Golden State is at its best when all its players get involved on the offensive end. Clearly this strategy works during the 2015-16 season.
4. Don’t slack on D
It’s one thing for a team to score 115.3 points per game (the Warriors do) and shoot 49.3% from the field (Golden State can really shoot the rock), but it’s also imperative that the same team does not take off on the defensive end of the floor. Wouldn’t you know it, that’s not part of the Warriors’ makeup. They are tied for fourth in the NBA in steals (170), limiting their opposition to just 99.9 points per game and holding a defensive rating of 97.0. With the way the Dubs play on the offensive end of the floor, as long as they continue to hold their own defensively, they will be extremely difficult to beat.
5a. They have Stephen Curry
Curry was so good last season that he earned MVP honors. This year, as hard as it is to believe, he’s even better. Through 20 games, the Baby-Faced Assassin is averaging an NBA-best 32.0 points per game, to go along with 5.1 rebounds and 6.0 assists per contest. Not to mention, he’s shooting 52.4% from the field, 45.6% from three, and 94.3% from the charity stripe. Oh, and for good measure, he’s already knocked down 102 three-pointers on the year. As long as the Chef keeps cooking up a storm, everyone else may as well pack it up and go home.
5b. (See 5a)
Seriously, it’s beyond unfair.