Golden State Warriors the NBA's most improved team

Not content with purely reaching the play-offs, Golden State Warriors are even picking up wins.

The Golden State Warriors had a few bright moments in the 2012 season, but the problem was most of them occurred via Monta Ellis.

The high scoring point guard was the team's leader and most dangerous threat, and then midway through the season was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks.

They ended third bottom of the Western conference with a dismal 23-43 record.

A year on the Warriors have turned it around completely, ending the regular season at 47-35 finishing in a play-off spot.

They did not sneak in either, finishing sixth in the West - ahead of both the Lakers and the rejuvenated Rockets.

The Rockets have turned it around well too, though did not win as many games, and made big name additions on the way in James Harden and Jeremy Lin. They have been left with an almost impossible task, defeating Harden's former team the Thunder.

The Warriors were 'rewarded' for their finish with a play-off tie against the Denver Nuggets, a team certainly on the up, who pushed the Lakers all the way in a 4-3 play-off series last year, and then added Andre Iguadala.

The opening game of the Warriors-Nuggets series was a close fought encounter, 97-95 to Denver.

Last night the series became tied, with the Warriors blowing out Denver 131-117.

Central to it was Stephen Curry, who has emerged as the team's biggest threat after Ellis departed, and is reveling in the responsibility.

He shot 30 points in the victory, adding to what is already an amazing season for him. He set the record in the regular campaign for the highest number of three-pointers scored, breaking it on the final day by three, with an astonishing 272 scored overall.

Curry is proving as vital to them as Ellis ever was, and right now that trade has not done them much harm at all, for they have come out the other side a better team, and after last night many will be tipping them to get past Denver.

Whether they do or not, just getting this far and remaining competitive is a huge improvement on last season, and they certainly deserve to be regarded as the NBA's most improved team.

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image: © Keith Allison