Off to a blistering start for the season. the Golden State Warriors will travel to Arizona for the backend of a back-to-back against the Phoenix Suns with hopes of extending their current 5-game win streak. How has Golden State bursted out of the gates? There are a number of factors and here is one simple explanation: more possessions = more opportunities to score.
The 2014-15 Warriors lead the NBA in pace at an astounding 103.2 possessions per game according to Hollinger's NBA Team Statistics. Also factor in the notion that the Warriors are averaging 107.2 points per game and shooting .493 from the field as a team (both league highs), you have a winning offensive combination. However, Golden State is not just playing one end of the floor, the squad is holding opponents to 92.4 points per game and a league-best .399 opponent FG% via ESPN NBA Statistics, which is good for the league's best defensive rating. Andrew Bogut is our defensive anchor but Curry may be a great defender after all.
Stephen Curry vs. Goran Dragic will be an intriguing must-see matchup tonight. Curry is coming off a 34 point, 10 rebound, five assist and four steal outing against the Houston Rockets with efficient shooting from the field and three-point territory. In a loss against the Sacramento Kings on Friday, Dragic got back on track and dropped 22 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals after a slow start to the season. Two elite point guards; two fast paced teams. This should be an interesting point guard duel and we haven't even talked about the shooting guards.
The Phoenix Suns are a team known to push the ball and run the floor with their trio point guard rotation of Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, and Isaiah Thomas. A live-ball giveaway to Phoenix will likely end in fastbreak points on the opposite end. Consequently, this game will be affected by the Warriors' ability to minimize turnovers. In last night's post game session, Steve Kerr expressed concern over the 26 turnovers despite the undefeated start. When the pace is pushed, there is a tendency to make unsound playmaking decisions in transition at time. Turnovers will undoubtedly become a major concern in bad shooting nights.
Optimistically, over the course of the season, I think we should see Golden State play more comfortably with control and take care of the ball better.