The Warriors have been one of the nice surprises of the young season, getting out to a 16-8 start, and wrapping up the team’s longest road trip of the year with a 6-1 record after blowing out the Hawks on Saturday.
Much was made of the fact that the Warriors, by virtue of their last-second win in Miami over the defending champion Heat, were now “for real.” Beating this version of the Heat, however, is nothing to get excited about.
People seem to have forgotten just how much the Heat have coasted this season; Miami needed overtime to beat Milwaukee at home, and needed a furious late rally in the final two minutes — again, in their building — to beat a Cavaliers team that is now 5-20 on the season.
And of course, we can’t forget the loss in Washington to the league-worst Wizards.
So, while the win over Miami may not prove as much as the conversation following the win said it did, the way the team competed over the totality of this trip just might.
Golden State essentially no-showed in Orlando two days after beating the Heat, perhaps due to the fact that the team stayed an extra night in South Beach to celebrate that win. But after bouncing back in Atlanta the way they did to end the road trip, Warriors head coach Mark Jackson is becoming one of the believers.
“We bounced back and I think it’s important for us to do that, to show that we’re for real and we’re going to be here for the long haul,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said.
Golden State is clinging to for real, having propelled itself even more into the conversation as one of the league’s authentic winners, after the impressive road trip.
“This is definitely a playoff-caliber team and this win speaks volumes for us as well,” Warriors guard Jarrett Jack said.
Besides the Heat and the Hawks, the Warriors took care of the Pistons, Nets, Bobcats, and Wizards during the 6-1 stretch.
Only Brooklyn in that group is a team that’s even decent, but winning on the road isn’t easy no matter who the opponent is.
And for a young Warriors team trying to make a name for itself, this winning trip could go a long way in making the players on the team believe they’re for real, as well.