Warriors look to extend magical run into postseason

Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:01pm EDT
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By Jahmal Corner

(Reuters) - The Golden State Warriors enjoyed a dream season as they raced to the best mark in the NBA but their lack of playoff experience leaves them with much to prove heading into the post-season.

Under first-year coach Steve Kerr the high-octane Warriors compiled a franchise-best 67 wins with an exhilarating brand of play that stole the spotlight.

But Golden State's style leaves no guarantee that they will achieve championship substance amidst a sea of contenders for the NBA's Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.

LeBron James has restored the Cleveland Cavaliers to playoff relevancy after his return home sparked a roster upgrade that has turned the previously tough-luck franchise into Eastern Conference favorites.

However, the Cavaliers must answer some questions of their own as they make their first postseason appearance since James famously left Cleveland for Miami in 2010.

Young standouts Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will get their first taste of the playoffs, as will first-year coach James Blatt, and Cleveland is still building with a roster that was revamped at mid-season.

The defending champion San Antonio Spurs enter the playoffs perhaps under the radar, speaking to the depth of competition in the strong Western Conference, but they are deadlier than ever.

After an uneven start to the campaign, the Spurs finished the regular season winning 21 of their last 25 games yet still start the post-season as the West's sixth seed on the road against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.   Continued...

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) gestures with three fingers as Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) shoots and scores a three point basket against the Memphis Grizzlies during the second quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports