It was a week that started out wobbly for the Golden State Warriors. They dropped a winnable game to the Kings at home and then needed overtime to get past the Lakers.
But the Warriors finished off the week with consecutive strong wins over Orlando and Miami to kick off a season-long six-game road trip.
Here are some things I liked and things I didn’t like from this past week:
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Things I liked
I liked … the wins over the Magic and Heat. Just like last week, when the Warriors blew out the Bulls and Pelicans after falling to the Thunder, they responded to a bad loss to the Kings followed by a grinder over the Lakers with consecutive strong road wins.
These were both games in which the Warriors left no doubt that they were the superior team, that they can go from 0 to 100 real quick and run away with a win. Speaking of which …
I liked … the Warriors’ domination in the third quarter against the Heat. It was their patented spurt where they make an opponent feel like it is in the game, and then … woosh, it’s a 20-point lead.
Oh, and Dion Waiters‘ stat line this time around? 1-for-10 from the floor, 0-of-5 from distance. Waiters Island, amirite? As for someone else who doesn’t make bad decisions …
I liked … Jordan Bell. I think I’ll say this every week, but I really Jordan Bell. As Jim Barnett said on the broadcast on Sunday, Bell has never taken a bad shot. He’s never just hoisted one up, never made a “rookie mistake.”
He continues to do a little bit of everything, and he also recorded a career-high 16 points in Orlando that included this:
Forget $3.5 million. I would’ve paid $7 million for this man.
Things I didn’t like
I didn’t like … the loss to the Kings. This one stands out, because even without Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, the Warriors should’ve won this game. They had enough firepower and depth to defeat a terrible Kings team at home.
And yet, they didn’t score in the final 3:11, giving up a four-point lead and instead losing by four points. To win this game, the Warriors needed bigger nights out of Klay Thompson (21 points) and Draymond Green (14 points). And while they 16 points for Pat McCaw, who looked impressive with more on his plate, they couldn’t close out the Kings without their two MVPs.
Do the Warriors win this game with Steph and KD? Yes, handily. And this loss likely doesn’t matter unless they don’t claim the first seed in the West. But it was a winnable game that the Warriors lost, and we’ve been saying this a few times more than we expected this season. We nearly said it against the Lakers, and …
I didn’t like … the turnovers against the Lakers. There were 22 in all, and they allowed the Lakers to keep pace for four quarters. It took a Steph takeover to win the game.
There seems to be a common theme to the “things I don’t like” lists that can easily be generalized: sloppy games against bad teams and turnovers. This, I understand, might be a little harsh. This is the NBA. Teams are bound to have bad games, even the best teams.
And, in my opinion, the Warriors have been fatigued this season by pretty much everything — the three consecutive seasons of slogging to the Finals, the fact that the rest of the NBA has gotten better (or at least the competitive teams) and the 24-hour hoopla surrounding them. It takes a toll, and I think there are some nights where the Warriors rest a star or two and are not in the right mindset to play like themselves.
This is fine. It’s normal. I am only mildly concerned that the Warriors are trailing both the Celtics and Rockets for the best record in the league and it’s already December, partially because I think the Warriors will eventually coast to the top spot and because I think they can turn it on in the playoffs anyway, even without home court.
For now, it’s eyes ahead on the road. We’ll see if they are energized on Monday against the Pelicans on the back-end of a back-to-back, and if they finish off the road trip with wins in Charlotte and Detroit.