OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Every basketball fan in the country and around the globe saw the potential of the Golden State Warriors last season when Stephen Curry stayed healthy and got hot in the playoffs.
One swish after another, Curry wowed the gold-shirt wearing crowds that packed Oracle Arena and turned games into must-see TV. The performances transformed the franchise from lovable losers with a faithful following to an up-and-coming team that could contend for a Western Conference title — and maybe more.
Few expected the Warriors, who had made the playoffs just once since 1994, to make the postseason. Even fewer predicted they'd beat Denver — which won a franchise-record 57 games — in the first round. And almost nobody thought they'd seriously challenge the San Antonio Spurs before losing in six games in the second round.