Great Warriors win over the Hawks on an absolutely impossible road-back-to-back. After the energy and emotion expended in defeating the two-time World Champs in their own building, the Warriors were obviously running on fumes. They stole this game the way the great teams do, by sticking together, playing unselfishly, grinding, and rising to the occasion in crunch time.
And playing Nellieball in the fourth quarter.
David Lee: I know Warriors fans don’t care that he’s one of the best offensive big men in the NBA, leading the league in points in the paint. I know they don’t care that he just put the Warriors on his back, dropping 55 points on a road back-to-back against two of the best teams in the East. I know they don’t care that he’s one of the best pick and roll big men in league history — capable of single-handedly destroying the Curry blitz — who’s FINALLY getting the chance to show it once again this year. I know they don’t care that he’s one of the few 80% free throw shooters in the Warriors fourth quarter lineup (or among big men in the NBA), and is absolutely NAILS in crunchtime. Warriors fans don’t care about any of that.
He’s in the way of poor Harrison!
So I won’t even mention that stuff. But did you happen to notice the defense he played on Chris Bosh and Paul Millsap on this road back-to-back? Bosh 6-16. Millsap 3-14. Anyone else notice that?
I didn’t think so.
Oh wait, Stephen Curry noticed. In the post-game, he stated of David Lee: “He’s playing at an allstar level for sure. He’s anchored us down low on both sides of the floor. Defensively, he’s making an impact every single night, guarding stretch-fours, low-post-fours, and rebounding the basketball.”
Eh, allstar schmallstar, that’s enough of that nonsense. The majority of Warriors fans want to know, who can we trade him for?
Stephen Curry: Even when he struggles (1-7 from three, 9 TO’s) he’s transcendent (9 asts, 8 rbs, 5 stls). One of the highest IQ players to ever lace them up. And one of the clutchest (14 4th Q points).
He’s currently the second best player in fantasy basketball, so if you wanted to make the argument that he’s the second best player in the league, I wouldn’t disagree with you.
In fact, I predicted it, in his rookie season.
Klay Thompson: Forget about Klayups, they’ve disappeared. And very quietly, a new term is coming to mind: the Klaymaker.
I have mentioned many times before — throughout the time that he was regularly being ridiculed for poor play and poor decision-making, in fact — that Klay has an extremely high basketball IQ, great court vision, and point-guard-level passing ability. It’s really starting to shine now. Klay is starting to make plays for the Warriors from all over the court. Swinging the ball, bounce passes off the curl, drive and dish.
6 assists this game. 4 against the Heat.
I took some heat a while back for comparing Klay to some past Hall of Fame small forwards. Well, I haven’t repented. It is completely obvious to me that by the time Klay reaches his prime, he will not only be a multiple allstar, but will have a better all-around offensive floor game than Chris Mullin.
As for defense, they simply can’t be compared. Kyle Korver, 2-7.
Andrew Bogut: In an unprecedented display of transparency, the Warriors released the information that Bogut’s playing through a right calf strain. Which immediately provoked a couple of thoughts from me:
1) Is this what suddenly turned Mark Jackson into a coaching genius?
2) Calf strain?
Andrew Iguodala: I probably shouldn’t mention that I think Lebron was clearly still suffering from the groin strain he sustained a few games back. Nevertheless, Iggy played a great game against him.
And he’s still suffering from an injury of his own. Anyone think it odd that Iggy got hidden on DeMarre Carroll in this game, while Klay got assigned Kyle Korver?
How about the fact that this former ironman got only 27 minutes?
I love that he hit his second big game-winner for the Warriors. But I can’t help but wonder if that’s the way the Warriors really want to go. Is he the guy you want taking the big shot in the playoffs?
And how long will it be before opponents figure out that he should be fouled as soon as he touches the ball?
Harrison Barnes: Had a wretched first three quarters on offense, playing small forward. (1-9 from the field, -15.)
But when he stepped in for the faltering Draymond Green in the crunchtime Nellieball unit, at power forward, he shone. (3-3 from the field, +13)
I been saying.
Mo Speights: Yes, he’s a center.
Toney Douglas and Kent Bazemore: Huhhhhboy… Even though the Warriors escaped with a win tonight, this game further accentuated their desperate need for a quality backup point guard.
(Did you happen to notice that Stephen Curry turned his ankle near the end of the game? I did. And injuries like that are highly correlated to exhaustion.)
BY THE THROAT
I really hate to jinx the Warriors like I apparently did to start the season, but barring further injury mishaps to their big four, the Warriors are getting ready to make their run to the top of the Western Conference standings.
The Thunder without Westbrook are falling from the sky. The Clippers are grossly overrated, and just suffered the first Chris Paul injury of the season. Memphis is decimated. And despite the fact that I predicted them to be greatly improved this season, I believe Portland is overachieving, the beneficiaries of a benevolent early season schedule.
The Warriors, by contrast, have had the toughest early season schedule in the entire Western Conference. Check it out. Among the teams of the Western Conference, the Warriors have played both the most road games, and the most games against Western Conference opponents. And this road trip is only half-finished.
By the the time the Warriors get back from this trip, the toughest part of their schedule will be behind them. And they will be ready — this may sound strange to say about a team on a league-best 8 game winning streak — to really make some hay.
The Warriors are gearing up to seize the Western Conference by the throat.
Joe Lacob, do your job.