MIAMI -- In previous years, the notion of winning on the road against the Miami Heat was considered a Warriors pipe dream. They would have to play perfectly and hope Miami sleep walked through the game -- and, of course, it never happened.
But heading into Wednesday's game against the defending champs, Golden State is playing well enough that it can leave the fantasizing to others.
"If we do what we're supposed to do, we're going to be fine," coach Mark Jackson said. "We feel good about it. It shows how far we've come, and it shows the mindset of this basketball team."
The Warriors seem to be looking forward to matching up against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade & Co. Perhaps there is no better measuring stick for how good Golden State is than lining up against arguably the best team in the league.
The Warriors (14-7) are 4-0 on this seven-game trip and have created some buzz. They're shooting up NBA power rankings across the nation. Point guard Stephen Curry is getting mention as an MVP candidate. Both he and forward David Lee are generating All-Star consideration.
A win over Miami would surely send the Warriors love into overdrive. But that's not exactly why Golden State is feeling good about taking on the Heat.
The Warriors are still working on putting together a complete game on this trip. In three of the wins, they built a lead then let the opponent off the hook in the fourth quarter. In the other, at Brooklyn, they
As much as they have improved, the Warriors know it will take one of their better performances to beat the Heat. Wednesday figures to provide the optimal setting.
"I'm pretty sure if we play like we did in Washington against Miami, we probably won't win," Curry said. "It's going to take 48 minutes. ... You're playing the defending world champions. I'm sure they get everybody's best shot every night. We won't be any different. We're going
The Warriors' confidence is grounded in a few realities.
Already having secured a winning trip, underdog Golden State won't have any pressure. A win over the Heat would be icing on the cake. With their confidence at a season high, the Warriors can play freely and aggressively.
"It's not like we're 1-3 and having to figure out a way we can salvage the trip with a big win," Lee said.
The Warriors match up relatively well against the Heat. Both teams like to go small, and Jackson said Golden State won't look to slow it up to keep Miami from running. Obviously, Golden State will have a difficult time with James and Wade. But the Warriors could have advantages in point guard play and overall
Golden State seems to have developed an identity for grinding out games. Sometimes the Warriors hang around long enough to make a push at the end. Other times, they blow big leads and are forced to hang on. Either way, the Warriors are becoming conditioned for the long haul. That means they are better prepared to absorb one of Miami's runs and still stay within striking distance.
"The truth of the matter is we can't walk into the gym and get a win," Jackson said. "That's not who we are. We're going to win ugly sometimes, we're going to be rolling sometimes. But we're going to compete every single night."
Warriors (14-7) at Miami (14-5), 4:30 p.m., CSNBA
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