Well, now, look who has won six out of their last nine.
A little over two weeks after many, including your truly, began the countdown to the Warriors’ inevitable disappearance from the playoff picture, Golden State has regrouped just in time to save its season. The Warriors won again on Monday, downing the New Orleans Hornets in the Big Easy by a final of 93-72. It marked the first time since 2004 that the Dubs held opponents to less than 80 points in consecutive contests.
Because we all saw that coming, right?
True, the Hornets aren’t exactly what you might call a “good” basketball team, but the Warriors’ performance on Sunday against Houston, the same Rockets team that tied an NBA record for three-pointers in a 140-point smack down at the beginning of February, leads me to believe that Golden State’s defense may have returned in the knick of time.
On Monday, it was especially stingy in the second and fourth quarters. In those periods, New Orleans managed just 25 total points, including just 11 in a final quarter that saw Golden State turn a close game into a breeze.
On offense, the Warriors played uncharacteristically evenly, never getting “hot” enough to make a huge run, but never going so cold that the Hornets could seize the momentum. Stephen Curry, as is his custom, was the best player on the floor for the Dubs, finishing with 30 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 6-of-9 from beyond the arc. Klay Thompson was off his game from inside the three-point line (5-of-15), but did hit 3-of-6 threes to add 13 points from the shooting guard position.
Down low, David Lee put together the only double-digit rebounding game for either team, adding another double-double to his tally with 20 points and 11 boards.
Once again, the other starters (minus Andrew Bogut, who pulled down nine rebounds) and bench players (minus Jarrett Jack, who led the team with five assists) did not have much impact on the proceedings at New Orleans Arena. The entire bench played a total of 86 minutes between them and only added 15 points to Golden State’s total. Harrison Barnes (just seven points on four total shots) has struggled to get open lately and has passed the bulk of the responsibility for scoring onto Curry and Lee as a result.
That will have to change on Wednesday when the Warriors head to San Antonio, where they haven’t won since the Alamo. Teams like the Spurs are too deep and too smart to let the Warriors run a Curry-Lee-occasionally Thompson offensive scheme and get away with it. Although it’s entirely possible that Mark Jackson deliberately let his stars carry the load on Monday against New Orleans because he knew he could still win the game without revealing too much, Warriors fans should be wary about the Spurs game coming down to Barnes’ or Draymond Green’s performance.
At this stage of the season, though, a team will take constructive criticism over just plain criticism. The Warriors are–kind of, sort of–back on track and can get back to ten games over .500 with what would be a rousing win over the Spurs on Wednesday. San Antonio is as vulnerable as they’ll be all season, without star guard Tony Parker and presumabl;y already beginning preparations for the playoffs, and Golden State should enter the game with confidence.
And why not? After all, what’s a better warm-up for a big game than a three-touchdown win?