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HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — For the Golden State Warriors, the magic number is 15.
Since the start of last season, the Warriors are 69-0 in games they’ve led by 15 points or more. When they’ve built a lead of at least 15 points, they’ve gone on to win the game.
Last season, the Warriors were 47-0 in the regular season and 12-0 in the playoffs in games they led by at least 15. This season, they’ve led 10 of their 12 games by at least 15.
Comebacks from 15 down aren’t too common. Over the last 20 years, teams have won 91 percent of the games they’ve led by 15 points or more. And in that time, there have been eight longer streaks than that of the Warriors, which goes back to the end of the 2013-14 regular season.
Note: We’re looking at just the last 20 years, because play-by-play data goes back to the 1996-97 season.
But none of the teams that have had longer streaks have been up by 15 as often as Golden State has. The Warriors have had the league’s best offense and the league’s best defense over the last two seasons. They have a potent starting lineup and a terrific bench. So they’re good at both building big leads and protecting them.
Since their streak began, the Warriors have been up by 15-plus in an incredible 57 percent of their games. The other teams that have had 15-plus streaks longer than 70 games built those 15 point leads in less than half of their games over the course of the streak.
From ’96-97 through ’14-15, no team led as many games by 15 points as the Warriors did last season. And they won them all.
The Warriors have blown leads of 15 or more points over the course of the streak. In fact, they’ve already blown leads of 15-plus as many times this season (2) as they did in the ’14-15 regular season. But they’ve always managed to recover and win the game.
One of the teams that has come back from at least 15 down against the Warriors is the Clippers, who Golden State visits on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET, TNT). Two weeks ago, the Clippers erased a 17-point deficit and held a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter in Oakland. But the champs finished the game on a 25-11 run to win by four.
This streak will come to an end at some point, but it’s going to take a special performance against the best team we’ve seen in a long time.
Here’s the Warriors’ streak, game by game…