Looking Back on a Noteworthy 2013-14 Season
The Warriors’ 2013-14 season ended earlier than they hoped with a Game 7 loss to the Clippers in the First Round of the NBA Playoffs, but not before the team turned in a memorable campaign filled with noteworthy accomplishments.
Let’s take a look back at a few of the team’s statistical achievements in 2013-14.
Among the most obvious of the Warriors’ feats this season was their participation in the playoffs for the second-straight season, the first time since 1991 and 1992 that the team has qualified for the postseason in consecutive years. Prior to this two-year stretch, the Warriors had qualified for the playoffs only once in the previous 18 years. Golden State followed last season’s 47-35 campaign with a 51-31 mark this year, giving the franchise back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2006-07 (42-40) and 2007-08 (48-34).
The 51-win campaign marked the first time in 20 years (1993-94) that the Warriors won at least 50 games in a single season, earning the franchise’s fifth 50-win campaign in its 68-year history. By reaching the 50-win milestone, the Warriors ended the second-longest 50-win drought in the league, behind only Washington, which last won 50 contests in 1978-79. The Warriors finished the year at a season-high 20 games above .500, their most games above the .500 mark since finishing the 1991-92 season with a 55-27 record.
With 51 wins in the regular season and three more wins in postseason play, the Warriors combined to tally 54 victories in 2013-14, the fourth highest win total in franchise history. Over the last two seasons combined, the Warriors have won 107 games, their most over a two-year period since 1974-1975 and 1975-76, when they combined to win 126.
FIRST ROUND RECOLLECTIONS
A successful regular season led the Warriors to a First Round matchup with the division-rival Clippers, a series that included several interesting statistical tidbits. The Warriors and Clippers had never met in the postseason prior to the 2014 Playoffs, and in fact had only qualified for the playoffs in the same season two times before (2013 and 1992) since the Clippers moved West from Buffalo in 1978-79.
In a win-or-go-home Game 6, the Warriors defeated the Clippers, 100-99, winning their first elimination game since taking Game 4 of the 1987 Western Conference Semifinals vs. the Lakers (May 10, 1987), a game in which Sleepy Floyd set NBA playoff records with 29 points in the fourth quarter and 39 in the second half. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the one-point victory was the first time in Warriors history that the team won an elimination game by the minimum margin. Previously, the Warriors had lost seven-straight elimination games.
As a result of the Game 6 victory, the Warriors appeared in their first Game 7 in 36 years and 364 days, ending the longest Game 7 drought in NBA history. Prior to their 126-121 Game 7 loss in Los Angeles on May 3, the Warriors last participated in a Game 7 on May 4, 1977, falling to the Lakers in Los Angeles, 97-84. In addition to the Warriors and Clippers, four other First Round series went the full seven games, the first time in NBA history that five of the eight First Round matchups went to a seventh game.
CLOSE CALLS AND COMEBACKS
Winning 50-plus games doesn’t come easy, and the Warriors had several close calls in 2013-14. In fact, no team hit more game-winning shots within the last three seconds of a game than the Warriors’ six, the beneficiaries of late-game heroics from the likes of Andre Iguodala, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. All told, the heart-stopping Warriors played in a league-leading 17 games decided by two points or fewer, posting a 10-7 mark in those contests, and an NBA-high 26 games decided by four points or fewer (13-13).
But it isn’t so much the close games that stand out as it is the games that looked like they might not be very close at all. The Warriors overcame a deficit of at least 15 points in seven come-from-behind victories throughout the course of the year, and considering that it took 49 wins just to qualify for the Western Conference playoffs, it’s safe to say the Warriors needed just about every one of them. Chief among those rallies was the mammoth 27-point comeback on Dec. 3 vs. Toronto, a game that saw the Warriors outscore the Raptors 42-15 in the fourth and final frame to earn the team’s largest comeback since the NBA began tracking play-by-play data in 1999-2000.
Part of the reason the Warriors were able to get to 50 wins this season was their success outside of Oakland. The Warriors tied a franchise record by winning 24 games away from home this season and finishing with a 24-17 road mark for their eighth winning road record in team history. The Warriors earned another road victory with a Game 1 triumph in Los Angeles, giving them a combined 25 wins away from home in the regular season and playoffs—second only to the 1975-76 squad that won 26 road tilts.
NO TRIPPING UP
For the second-straight year, the Warriors emerged from a seven-game road trip with a 6-1 record, becoming the third team in NBA history to post consecutive seasons with at least six wins on a road trip of seven-or-more games (joining the 2002-04 Spurs and the 1995-97 Chicago Bulls). Golden State also embarked upon a six-game trip later in the season, posting a 4-2 record to give them four-or-more victories on multiple road trips in a single season for the first time in franchise history.
Several of the Warriors wins came in bunches this season. The Warriors won 10-straight games (from Dec. 21-Jan. 7) for the first time since 1975, one victory away from tying the longest winning streak in franchise history (11). Golden State also tied the longest road winning streak in franchise history at seven games, originally set back in 1969.
AN A FOR THE D
The Warriors finished among the elite defensive teams in the NBA, ranking third in defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) behind only Indiana and Chicago. What’s more, Golden State held 27 opponents under 40 percent from the field, second only to Indiana (30), while holding half of the team’s opponents (41) to below 100 points.
When the Warriors took the court with the starting five of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bogut intact, otherwise known as their #FullSquad, they won nearly 70 percent of the time (30-13), tied for the team’s third-best five-man unit (min. 30 games) since the NBA began tracking starters in 1970-71.