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How Far Can Golden State Warriors Advance in the NBA Playoffs?

May 2, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates against the Denver Nuggets during the third quarter of game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Nuggets 92-88. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
James PearsonCorrespondent IMay 10, 2013

The Golden State Warriors could be headed to the NBA Finals.

OK, not get to get too far ahead, but why can't it happen?

After "upsetting" the Denver Nuggets, the Warriors, now facing the San Antonio Spurs, have stolen home-court court advantage in the Western Conference semifinals.

Is there a limit as to how far can they take this?

Is this any different from the Cinderella teams that catch fire in the NCAA tournament? With their collective performance, can they even be considered an underdog anymore?

Right now, Golden State is shooting a robust 49 percent from the field with 10.1 three-point field goals for an NBA best 108.8 points per game this postseason.

Stephen Curry has turned into the best player in the NBA not named LeBron James (it's not just points he is putting up, his 8.9 assists per game is a NBA playoff best and don't forget his 2.0 steals), and the rest of the team is playing their best basketball of the season right now.

And it's not just offensively.

The Warriors own the third best defensive efficiency rating in the 2013 NBA playoffs among the Western Conference at 102.9. That's even ahead of the defensive-minded Memphis Grizzlies.

Their hot shooting might cool down, but their defensive intensity and effort will not.

What else is going to help them advance deep into the playoffs?

Golden State is the leading rebounding team in the Western playoffs with 45.5 boards a game. That stat has been just as important as any other in the postseason.

Sure, it helps that the team is shooting the lights out, but going forward, rebounding is something they can count on to win games. After all, it's something they have done all season, finishing third in the NBA with 45 boards per game.

And this postseason they've been without All-Star David Lee!

He was hurt in the Game 1 loss to the Nuggets, but the Warriors didn't let that bother them. Much like everything else they have faced in these playoffs, nothing has fazed this team and that's the reason there may be no stopping them.

In fact, Lee's injury ironically turned everything in the Warriors' favor. Instead of simply inserting Carl Landry into the starting lineup, Mark Jackson decided to go small with Jarrett Jack and moved Harrison Barnes to power forward.

Sure, that particular five only played together for 28 minutes all season, but Jackson didn't let that bother him.

And he did it facing a team that was 38-3 at home. Yes, 38-3!

They knew going in that they would have to win at least one game in a very hostile environment to advance. But that fact didn't bother them either.

After the last-second buzzer beater by Andre Miller in Game 1, the Warriors could have easily hung their heads. But they didn't let a little thing like having a 37-year-old play the postseason game of his life deter them.

They just went out and won the very next game in Denver and took care of business in front of the best crowd in basketball at Oracle.

Now they're facing the San Antonio Spurs. A team that the Golden State franchise hadn't beaten on the road since February 14th, 1997. And no, that stat hasn't bothered them either.

Really, the Dubs should be up 2-0, but if they are not going to let that bother them, why should it bother anyone else?

Big props are due for Coach Jackson and the rest of the team. Their resilience after the brutal Game 1 losses in both series only made them stronger.

Now the Warriors are in position to ride hold home-court advantage all the way to the Western Conference finals!

First things first, they need to take care of business at home against the Spurs, but should they advance, the Russell Westbrook-less Oklahoma City Thunder or the Memphis Grizzlies await.

Both are teams that they can beat. Heck, with the way they've been playing, who couldn't they beat?

As strange as it sounds, the Warriors may end up in the NBA Finals. With the way Jackson has his group playing defensively, the hot shooting of Curry, the brilliant play of Klay Thompson and the poise that the entire team is showing, this sky is the limit.

*All stats courtesy of ESPN.com

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