Warriors brief: Keeping turnovers to a minimum in playoffs shouldn't come as a surprise anymore

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It goes without saying that the Warriors were very pleased with their performance in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Houston when they defeated the Rockets 119-106. There were many keys area that the Warriors excelled, but the area that deserves a lot of focus is their usual big Achilles heel: Turnovers. 

During the regular season, the Warriors were 26th in the NBA in turnovers, averaging 15.4 per game (for context, the Dallas Mavericks were first in the league surrendering 12.3 turnovers). Those numbers do not tell the whole story, as the Warriors play with one of the highest paces in the league which creates more possessions and therefore more opportunities for turnovers. However it is well known that when the Warriors are at their worst, turnovers play a huge part. Not only do the Warriors lose a chance to score points when they give the ball up, but their defense becomes less efficient with every live ball turnover as the team scrambles to get back and defend against an offense in transition. Steve Kerr preaches that the Warriors are at their best with good ball security and smart, calculated passing, and it seems like his message gets through best during the playoffs.

During Game 1 in Houston the Warriors committed nine turnovers as compared to 24 assists, which by any team's standards is an excellent number. Steph Curry finished with eight assists and only one turnover, a feat he had accomplished only twice during the regular season. Draymond Green finished with nine assists and only three turnovers, adding to his impressive playoff run in which he has accumulated nine assists or more in eight of the team's 11 playoff games (last playoffs he accomplished this in only three of 17 games). During the regular season the Rockets were no slouch in forcing opponent turnovers, as they were 10th in the league at 14.6 per game. While it was an impressive performance from the Warriors in terms of ball security, it should not come as a surprise anymore when it comes to the playoffs.

This playoffs so far, the Warriors have committed 13 or fewer turnovers in six of 11 games and have not turned over the ball more than 16 times in a game. Last playoffs, the Warriors committed 13 turnovers or fewer in eight of 17 games, but at the same time, turned over the ball 16 or more times in a game in eight of the 17 games. For context, the Warriors committed 13 or fewer turnovers in 25 of 82 regular season games. What was most impressive though about last playoffs was that the Warriors committed only seven turnovers in three games, and only four (!!) in one game. 

The Warriors are playing focused and efficient basketball thus far in the playoffs, just like they did last year. If they keep this up, it will be hard to find weaknesses with this team.

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