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April 14, 2016

Everything You Need to Know About the Warriors For the Playoffs

How do you follow up your first championship in 40 years? You set out with such determination, skill and teamwork that not only does a second consecutive title seem obvious, but you also set your sights on surpassing a league record considered to be unreachable. As they come off this once-in-a-generation accomplishment, we've got everything you need to know about our mighty Dubs as the post-season begins.

On the Court
Even the most casual of NBA fans know who Steph Curry is. You've seen the highlights, the press conferences, and the Instagram videos. The so-called Baby-Faced Assassin is as deadly in his sixth year in the pros as ever. He doesn't just lead the Warriors in points per game and steals per game; he leads the entire league in those categories. It makes sense when you think about it. How could anyone else make a shot when Steph's ripping the ball out of their hands?

Klay Thompson has shown that he's no longer just Steph Curry's on-court other half. In March, he scored 40 points in two consecutive games. That means that of all the points the Warriors scored in those two games, Klay was responsible for almost a third of them. He's spent his entire career with the Warriors, which makes him a definite hometown hero...even if his brother is playing center field for the dreaded Dodgers.

Draymond Green is as responsible for the Warriors' wins as anyone, leading the team in assists and rebounds. Few players show the passion Draymond does. He's outdone by only one person in that regard: his mom, who famously got to tell him live on TV that he'd been named to this year's All-Star reserve squad.

Harrison Barnes has started in almost every game he's played this season. Not only that, after just three years in the NBA, he's appeared in 40 play-off games, 33 of them as a starter. As long as he sticks with this squad, that number will continue to grow.

It's hard to miss Andrew Bogut, the enormous Australian who leads the teams in blocks for the second year in a row. Even so, his greatest accomplishment this season might be nailing that three-pointer against the Houston Rockets. For context, Tasmanian Devils are easier to find than an outside shot from Andrew Bogut.

On the Bench
The Warriors are as successful as they are because they don't rely on one superstar. They're an entire team of exceptional players.

No one is more primed for the post-season than Andre Iguodala, and with good reason: after never starting a single game last year, he wound up earning NBA Finals MVP honors. Shaun Livingston has been in the NBA for ten years and has played on nearly as many teams, but he's fit seamlessly into the Warriors' game plan. Only the Splash Brothers have higher free-throw percentages. Then there's big man Festus Ezeli. Injuries have kept him off the court lately, but when he has been out there, he's made it count.

The Warriors also have the benefit of great coaching. Head coach Steve Kerr had spent a lifetime in the NBA as a player, analyst, and executive. In his first season as the Warriors' head coach, he took them all the way. Just as his players rely on each other, Coach Kerr relies on his staff. When back surgery laid him up as the season began, it was assistant coach Luke Walton, an NBA legacy himself, who got the Dubs started on their record-breaking run.

In the Office
The Warriors' president and CEO is Rick Welts. You might not know it, but Rick has probably done more to shape the NBA you know and love than anyone. Did you know that it was Rick who came up with the idea for taking the one-night All-Star Game and turning it into the multi-event All-Star Weekend? Rick has also been a leading voice for diversity in the NBA, as the first openly gay executive in the league. He's been a terrific ambassador for San Francisco and has plenty of suggestions for what you should do when you visit.

In the Stands
Warriors pride courses through the entire Bay Area, with fans all the way from Vallejo to Palo Alto regularly packing into Oracle Arena. There are few fan bases whose patience and support has been so well-rewarded. And wherever you go in San Francisco, you can find top-notch bars and restaurants where every game of the Warriors' next run for the championship will be shown. You can even toast Steph Curry's success with some curry-inspired dishes.

So get your gear and make sure you've got a sick day saved in case of a parade. It's playoff time for the Warriors and we think there's another trophy in their future.

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