But while the Warriors may not be openly discussing 16 wins as a goal, they're also not going to be satisfied with simply picking up a box of Rice-A-Roni or some other parting gift on the way out the door after being swept by the Mavericks. A sweep by the Mavericks became impossible after the Warriors won the series opener on Sunday 97-85.
"Of course you're going to have expectations," Warriors guard Jason Richardson said Sunday before the Warriors' first playoff game in 12 seasons. "You don't want to just be happy being here."
Said guard Stephen Jackson: "We don't feel like an underdog team. We feel like a team that should be here. And we feel like we deserve to be here and we can play with any team."
Sunday marked just the fourth time this season the Warriors have appeared on a national television broadcast, and they relished an opportunity to reacquaint America with their brand of basketball.
"Everybody on this team is feeling like we can do some damage, or make some noise, put our name out there," Richardson said. "People have forgotten the Golden State Warriors. So right now, we're playing for ourselves, the team and this organization, because ... most NBA fans, they still don't know the starting five of the Golden State Warriors. We're just getting our franchise back, our reputation back, letting people know
Mullin, the Warriors' executive vice president, thinks the franchise already started to rehabilitate its image with the 16-5 run to close the regular season and get into the postseason.
"I think they have," Mullin said. "Just getting into the playoffs, I think obviously helps with the respect factor, but I think it has been changing."
This isn't only a reunion for Warriors coach Don Nelson and his lead assistant, Larry Riley. Reserve forward Josh Powell is also an ex-Maverick, having been traded by Dallas to Indiana last summer after playing in 37 games for the Western Conference champions.
"I didn't think I'd be traded, but what happens, happens," said Powell, who came to Golden State as part of the eight-player Jan. 17 trade with the Pacers. "I didn't feel that anything went wrong. They had to make a business decision that was best for the organization, and that's understandable. I don't have hard feelings or anything. I was very fortunate, blessed to be there and to be able to experience what I experienced in my first year there."
Off the glass
The Dallas Stars hosted a first-round NHL playoff game on Saturday in American Airlines Center, and the quick turnaround to convert AAC to a basketball facility didn't go quite as smoothly as possible. Condensation on the floor forced the Mavericks to move their morning shootaround to the team's practice facility and kept the Warriors moving gingerly through their pregame workout. "It's like grease out there," Richardson said. "It feels like you're on ice skates."
-- Geoff Lepper