Five teams who could tame the Golden State Warriors

It's no secret that the Golden State Warriors are considered to be one of the favourites, if not the favourites, to win the NBA title this year. After years of anguish and bitter disappointment, Golden State have quietly built up a dream team, whereby they now have an all-star or solid player to man every position.

Looking at the ongoing season, Golden State have won 42 games and only lost nine, which not only gives them the best record in the league, but a jaw-dropping 82.4 win percentage as well.

Much of the success Golden State has enjoyed this year should be credited to point guard Stephen Curry and shooting guard Klay Thompson. Curry is enjoying his best season in the NBA as he is averaging 23.6 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game, 7.9 assists per game and 2.2 steals per game. One man doing all this is beyond incredible, but if you throw in the fact that he boasts a field goal percentage of 48.1 per cent and a three-point shooting percentage of 39.9 per cent, it takes Curry to a whole different level.

Thompson meanwhile is averaging 22.1 points per game, but grabs 3.4 rebounds per game, dishes out 2.9 assists per game and averages 1.2 steals per game and 0.9 blocks per game as well. These are absolutely tremendous stats for a man who, during last season, was on the verge of being shipped to another team. However, Golden State stayed loyal to Thompson and even offered him a maximum contract, which is now starting to pay huge dividends.

However, Curry and Thompson are just two players in a 15-man roster, and with a majority of the other players chipping in with a good number of points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, it becomes crystal clear why Golden State are the best team in the league and are the team to beat heading into the playoffs.

With this said, there have been a lot of questions about which other NBA teams can give Golden State a run for their money. As tough as this question is to answer, I have managed to put together five teams who could get the job done.

Teams that can beat Golden State

5. Los Angeles Clippers

Season record: 35-19

Team stats:

  • 106.7 points per game
  • 64.8 win percentage
  • 47.2 field goal percentage
  • 37.1 three-point shooting percentage
  • 73.8 free throw percentage
  • 41.6 rebounds per game
  • 24.6 assists per game
  • 7.9 steals per game
  • 4.7 blocks per game

Strengths:

  • Second-best scoring team
  • Third-best team in terms of assists per game
  • Only commit 11.5 turnovers per game

Weaknesses:

  • Allow other teams to score an average of 100.7 points against them
  • 24th on the rankings for rebounds per game, which makes them one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA

Key Match-ups:

  1. Chris Paul vs Stephen Curry
  2. JJ Redick vs Klay Thompson
  3. DeAndre Jordan vs David Lee

Why the Clippers can take down the Golden State Warriors:

  1. Commit under 12 turnovers per game. This is a brilliant stat considering that the Clippers are known as 'Lob City' and play very stylish offence.
  2. The Clippers score 106.7 points per game, which is a huge number considering that they are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league.
  3. Due to all the offence they mount, it is no surprise that the Clippers average 24.6 assists per game. This is a dangerous sign for many teams since it shows that the Clippers share the ball and have lots of scoring options.

 

4. Memphis Grizzlies

Season record: 39-14

Team stats:

  • 100.6 points per game
  • 73.6 win percentage
  • 46.0 field goal percentage
  • 34.0 three-point shooting percentage
  • 77.8 free throw percentage
  • 43.2 rebounds per game
  • 22.0 assists per game
  • 8.4 steals per game
  • 4.4 blocks per game

Strengths:

  • Top the rankings for the least amount of points conceded with 95.7
  • Fifth-best team in terms of free throw percentage
  • Only commit 12.7 turnovers per game

Weaknesses:

  • 21st on the rankings for three-point shooting percentage
  • Only block 4.4 shots per game, which puts them at 21st on the rankings

Key Match-ups:

  1. Mike Conley vs Stephen Curry
  2. Jeff Green vs Draymond Green/Harrison Barnes/Andre Iguodala
  3. Marc Gasol vs Andrew Bogut

Why the Grizzlies can take down the Golden State Warriors:

  1. Best team when it comes to conceding points, Golden State will have a tough time scoring against the Grizzlies.
  2. Excellent offensive team since they boast a 46.0 field goal percentage, 77.8 free throw percentage and 22.0 assists per game
  3. Third-best team in terms of win percentage, they are one of the most lethal teams in the NBA at the moment.

 

3. Houston Rockets

Season record: 36-17

Team stats:

  • 103.1 points per game
  • 67.9 win percentage
  • 43.9 field goal percentage
  • 35.1 three-point shooting percentage
  • 71.8 free throw percentage
  • 43.4 rebounds per game
  • 21.7 assists per game
  • 9.6 steals per game
  • 4.5 blocks per game

Strengths:

  • Seventh-best in terms of points scored per game
  • Second-best team when it comes to steals per game

Weaknesses:

  • 22nd on the rankings when it comes to field goal percentage
  • Turn the ball over 16.2 times per game, which puts them at 29th on the list
  • One of the worst free throw shooting teams as they sit in 28th place in that category

Key Match-ups:

  1. Patrick Beverley vs Stephen Curry
  2. James Harden vs Klay Thompson
  3. Dwight Howard vs Andrew Bogut/David Lee

Why the Rockets can take down the Golden State Warriors:

  1. Possess an excellent all-round starting line-up with a strong bench as well, which is something not many NBA teams have.
  2. Great defensive team as they are second on the rankings for the teams with the most steals per game. 
  3. If Harden and Howard excel on both the offensive and defensive end, then Golden State are going to have a tough time stopping them.

 

2. San Antonio Spurs

Season record: 34-19

Team stats:

  • 100.7 points per game
  • 64.2 win percentage
  • 45.4 field goal percentage
  • 36.4 three-point shooting percentage
  • 76.8 free throw percentage
  • 43.8 rebounds per game
  • 24.3 assists per game
  • 7.6 steals per game
  • 5.4 blocks per game

Strengths:

  • Sixth-best three-point shooting team
  • Sixth-best defensive rebounding team in the league
  • Sixth-best in terms of assists per game

Weaknesses:

  • Commit 13.6 turnovers per game, which puts them in 15th place on the rankings
  • Score 100.7 points per game, while Golden State score 110.6

Key Match-ups:

  1. Tony Parker vs Stephen Curry
  2. Tim Duncan vs Andrew Bogut/David Lee
  3. Manu Ginobili vs Klay Thompson

Why the Spurs can take down the Golden State Warriors:

  1. The Spurs are the defending NBA champions and if they can play how they did during last season's final against the Miami Heat, they will be very tough to stop.
  2. One of the most fundamentally sound teams when it comes to offence. There is nothing brash or stylish about the way they play. It is just good, all-round basketball.
  3. Possess the all-star trio of Parker, Duncan and Ginobili. All three of them have played together for many years and have an innate of each other's playing styles.

 

1. Atlanta Hawks

Season record: 43-11

Team stats:

  • 103.4 points per game
  • 79.6 win percentage
  • 47.1 field goal percentage
  • 38.9 three-point shooting percentage
  • 77.5 free throw percentage
  • 40.9 rebounds per game
  • 25.7 assists per game
  • 8.8 steals per game
  • 4.6 blocks per game

Strengths:

  • Second-best win percentage in the NBA
  • Best three-point shooting team in the league
  • Fourth-best team in terms of points conceded

Weaknesses:

  • One of the worst rebounding teams in the league as they are currently in 27th place in that category
  • 16th on the list when it comes to blocks per game

Key Match-ups:

  1. Jeff Teague vs Stephen Curry
  2. Al Horford vs Andrew Bogut
  3. Kyle Korver vs Klay Thompson

Why the Hawks can take down the Golden State Warriors:

  1. Went 17-0 in the month of January. The Hawks have now gone down as the team to have enjoyed the single greatest month in NBA history.
  2. The Hawks top the table when it comes to three-point shooting percentage. Even though most of the damage beyond the line is inflicted by Korver, it just shows how dangerous of a team the Hawks are both in the paint and from downtown as well.
  3. Along with their incredible offense, the Hawks also have the ability to ensure that they restrict the number of points their opponents score. This will be an extremely useful attribute against a team like Golden State since they lead the league with an average of 110.6 points per game.

 

Bimal Mirwani

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