MIAMI -- Now, having surpassed the wildest of expectations by winning the first five games on this seven-game trip, the Warriors have another challenge. Handling success.
They haven't been eight games over .500 since the 2007-08 season. They have the fifth-best record in the Western Conference heading into their game at Orlando on Friday. Their bandwagon is as crowded as the Bay Bridge on a Tuesday morning.
Will the Warriors, after their stunning victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday, start admiring their work and lose their edge? They don't seem to think so, pointing to the fact that nine of the 13 players on the trip showed up Thursday for an optional shootaround in Miami.
"We are a humble team," power forward David Lee said. "We know we're not the most talented team in the league. We can't underestimate anybody, and it'll continue to be that way, even if we win 30 games in a row. We can't afford a letdown."
Finding reasons to be motivated is no difficult task. This team is a collection of criticized and overlooked players, ever fighting for respect. For years, the Warriors have been a blue-and-gold towel with which the elite wipe off their sweat.
Even before this season, despite upgrading the roster, they were picked by many to finish in or near the cellar of the Western Conference.
"We thought that we had a chance to be a solid six-through-eight seed in the West," Lee said. "I understand a lot of people thought
Even in Orlando, the Warriors will have the revenge factor. Their last loss was to the Magic in Oakland on Dec. 3, ending a three-game winning streak.
That was the second time this season the Warriors' momentum was snatched by a bad loss. (After a big win on the road over the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 3, the Warriors fell two nights later in Sacramento.)
The Warriors also seem to have an expert motivator on the bench. Coach Mark Jackson stirred up his troops last year with a patchwork roster. He is doing it again with this year's players, though they are more talented and having success.
Jackson said even when center Andrew Bogut returns -- and he won't be able to play the undersized underdog card -- he has ample motivational material.
Before the upset of Miami on Wednesday, Jackson pulled out a story of how George Foreman, then 45 years old, refused to sit in the corner between rounds and wound up knocking out heavyweight champion Michael Moorer in 1994.
"Shakespeare said there are sermons in stones," Jackson said. "I guess because of the preacher in me, it's easy. ... They're all trap games for us. We've got to play our brand of basketball to put ourselves in position to win. We understand who we are and how we have to go about winning. So win lose or draw against Orlando, it won't be because we aren't ready."
Over his past six road games -- the first five of this trip and Nov. 23 at Denver -- Lee is averaging 23.7 points on 56.4 percent shooting with 12.8 rebounds.