(SportsNetwork.com) - The Golden State Warriors begin their quest for an NBA title Saturday afternoon when they welcome the New Orleans Pelicans to Oracle Arena.
The Warriors had one of the best regular seasons in NBA history. In fact, their 67-15 mark is tied for the sixth-best on the all-time list. Golden State is the 10th team in NBA history to finish with a 67-15 record or better. Seven of the previous nine teams went on to win the title.
The Warriors led the NBA in field-goal percentage and opponents' field-goal percentage. Golden State finished atop the NBA in scoring average at 110.0 ppg and was led by MVP front-runner, Steph Curry.
Curry averaged 23.8 ppg, 7.7 apg, 2.0 spg. He shot 91 percent from the foul line, which led the league, and 44 percent from long range. He made 286 3- pointers this season, which, in addition to be ludicrous, is an NBA record, topping his own mark from two seasons ago, by 14. And, Curry didn't even play in 17 fourth quarters this season because the Warriors were dominating so thoroughly and because first-year head coach Steve Kerr has a heart.
"We have a goal to beat the Pelicans four times and then figure out who we play next," said Curry. "That's the expectation we've had and we have right now."
Curry may win the MVP, but he won't be the only Warriors player honored this offseason. Klay Thompson, Curry's "Splash Brother," is a Most Improved Player candidate, as is Draymond Green, who is also a favorite for Defensive Player of the Year.
And Kerr is the odds-on choice for Coach of the Year. He inserted Green and Harrison Barnes into the starting lineup in training camp at the expense of highly-paid veterans, Andre Iguodala and David Lee.
In New Orleans, it's a return to the postseason for the first time since the 2010-11 season, head coach Monty Williams' first at the helm. Since, the organization changed its name to the Pelicans, but the most important factor in New Orleans' success doesn't have anything to do with bird names.
Anthony Davis, had he been healthy all season, might have battled Curry for the MVP award. Davis, like Curry, is a fixture in the top 10 of several statistical categories and impacts the game more from a defensive side than Curry.
Davis finished fourth in scoring, eighth in rebounding, first in blocks, first in player efficiency, ninth in offensive rating, 12th in defensive rating and fourth in win shares. Analytically, statistically, or with the good-old eye- ball test, Davis is one of the best in the league.
If you believe in momentum, the Pelicans secured the final playoff berth on the final day of the regular season. All they did was knock off the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, who came into the contest with an 11-game winning streak and the Southwest Division and No. 2 seed at stake.
"When you think about it, the Western Conference is so tough," New Orleans forward Ryan Anderson said. "There are so many great teams. To play against San Antonio, the defending champs, in one game that really, really matters, it makes this so much sweeter."
The Pelicans took a game from the Warriors at the end of the season in New Orleans. Prior to that win, the Pels dropped 10 in a row to Golden State.