It's Friday -- time for a special Christmas Day edition of 10 things! This week we explore the Warriors' undeniable basketball identity, Carmelo Anthony's hilarious battle cry and baffling inconsistency from the Celtics ... and so much more. Thirteen hours of NBA action starts at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN.
1. What having a team identity looks like
One thorny bit of predictive analysis is deciding whether a late-season run portends something real, or is the overblown result of beating teams with one foot out the door.
The Golden State Warriors' 15-5 finishing kick last season passed the smell test because it connected stylistically to some of the best Stephen Curry-Klay Thompson-Draymond Green teams. The Warriors stopped playing newbies and ill-fitting interlopers. James Wiseman and Kelly Oubre Jr. lost minutes to Juan Toscano-Anderson, Kevon Looney, and Jordan Poole -- holdovers who understood how to dance with Curry.
The Warriors looked like themselves again -- playing a unique offense radiating from a unique superstar. That uniqueness alone holds value: Golden State's offense is an NBA knuckleball, difficult to adjust to after facing a line of fastball pitchers.
They did this in the second game of the season!