Road Warriors: Inside Golden State’s 20 Consecutive Series Road Winning Streak
Curry: Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kobe: Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
- The Golden State Warriors are going to the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive season, tying the Boston Celtics in 1957-66 for the most consecutive trips in NBA history.
- The Warriors have won and covered the spread in at least one road game in 20 consecutive playoff series under head coach Steve Kerr, including the 2019 NBA Finals vs. the Toronto Raptors
“A series doesn’t start until a road team wins a game…”
There are flaws to this statement, obviously, as a team with homecourt doesn’t necessarily have to win on the road. But often it’s required, and no team has done it better than the Golden State Warriors.
In Steve Kerr’s five playoff runs in Golden State, the Warriors are 32-17 straight-up and 29-19-1 against-the-spread (ATS) on the road. Since Kerr was hired in 2014, no coach has been more profitable for bettors ATS on the road in the playoffs.
In the 49 total games the Warriors have played on the road in the playoffs under Kerr, they have been on average a 3.0-point favorite. For comparison, the Cavaliers have played the second-most road playoff games in that span with 42, and they were on average a 1-point underdog on the road.
When comparing the Kerr-era Warriors to the recent ‘dynasties’ in the NBA — whether it’s the 2000’s Lakers or the 1990’s Bulls — it is pretty amazing how well Golden State has stacked up.
Of the seven teams chosen for this analysis, the Warriors had the third-highest road ATS win rate, behind just the 1991-93 Bulls (Michael Jordan’s first title run) and the 2000-02 Lakers with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.
How tough has it been for Golden State to cover the spread in its five-year NBA Finals run? The Warriors’ average road point spread of -3.0, tied for the highest of any team in this analysis, with the 1996-98 Bulls. MJ’s crew was on average a 3-point favorite on the road, and they went just 14-11 ATS in their title runs.
Maybe the most impressive aspect of the Warriors’ road success under Kerr: In the 20 total playoff series Golden State has played in since 2014-15, the Warriors have won and covered at least one road game in every series.
The other six teams analyzed in this article had a tough time living up to those same expectations during their respective playoff runs:
- Cavaliers (2015-2018): The Cavs failed to win on the road vs. the Warriors in the 2017 NBA Finals, losing all three games straight-up.
- Heat (2011-2014): Miami covered the spread and won a road game in 16 consecutive series from 2011-14 with LeBron James, two shy of the Warriors’ current streak.
- Lakers (2008-2010): In the 2008 NBA Finals, the Lakers lost three straight road games vs. the Celtics.
- Lakers (2000-2002): L.A. failed to cover on the road in the first round of the 2000 and 2002 playoffs against the Blazers and Kings.
- Bulls (1996-1998): In the Conference Semifinals against the Knicks in 1996, the Bulls lost Game 3 in New York as favorites and then won Game 4 but failed to cover the spread.
- Bulls (1991-1993): In 1991-92, the Bulls played the Heat in the first round of the playoffs. It wasn’t until 2003 that the first round of the playoffs turned into a seven-game series, so in the Bulls’ only road game in the series they won 119-114 but failed to cover the 10.5-point spread.
In the 20 playoff series under Kerr, the Warriors have closed out the series on the road 11 times, including doing so in their last five playoff series against the Rockets (twice), Cavaliers, Clippers and Blazers.
Since the Warriors’ only series loss under Kerr in the 2016 NBA Finals against the Cavaliers, Golden State has closed out eight of its 11 playoff series on the road. They’ve gone 19-9-1 ATS away from Oracle Arena in that span.
Just how dominant have the Warriors been away from home?
Since Kerr’s first season in 2014-15, Golden State has 149 total regular season road wins. Only the Spurs and Raptors have more home wins than the Warriors have road wins in that span.