It may not have reflected the beautiful basketball of years past, but it was effective nonetheless as the Golden State Warriors responded from an overtime loss to Atlanta with a much-needed 109-98 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.
The Warriors, known for reinventing the NBA with their three-point shooting over the last decade, went just 4-of-22 from three-point range in a scrappy affair at Barclays Center. Only Stephen Curry made a three-point field-goal on the night, with Golden State needing to find a different avenue to combat their shooting struggles.
That they did, finishing with a season-high 72 paint points that proved pivotal in allowing them to pull away from the hosts after a tight struggle through the first three-quarters. Front and center to that was Jonathan Kuminga who, after a quieter game against the Hawks on Saturday, returned to his recent dominance with 28 points on 50% shooting.
Jonathan Kuminga led the way with a 28-point, 10-rebound double-double in the Golden State Warriors' 11-point win over the Brooklyn Nets
The tandem of Kuminga and Curry continues to be the dual-engine of the Golden State offense, with the two-time MVP going for a game-high 29 points on 12-of-24 shooting from the floor and 4-of-11 from beyond the arc.
Curry and Kuminga combined for 21 of the Warriors' 34 points in the fourth-quarter, allowing the visitors to win the period by six despite a brief hot stretch for Brooklyn forward Royce O'Neale who drilled five threes in a five-minute period.
Outside of O'Neale's cameo, the Golden State defense was as good as it's been for the entirety of the season. They kept the Nets to 38.2% shooting from the floor and 31% from three-point range, while Cam Thomas was kept to 4-of-21 shooting after 41 points against the Warriors in their first meeting in December.
Brandin Podziemski provided the third foil offensively, recording his third-straight double-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds and three assists in nearly 38 minutes as a starter in place of the injured Andrew Wiggins.
Wiggins' absence also meant more playing time for young forward Gui Santos, with the 21-year-old Brazilian finishing with a career-high nine points and five rebounds in nearly 18 minutes off the bench.
Santos notably closed the game over Klay Thompson who struggled again after a 4-of-19 shooting performance against Atlanta. The veteran shooting-guard had only eight points, though was evidently more patient in taking just nine field-goal attempts.
Draymond Green continued to do a little bit of everything as Golden State's small-ball five, tallying eight points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and two steals in just over 30 minutes. Third-year wing Moses Moody played just over 15 minutes in his return from a calf strain, but was rather quiet in recording just four points, one rebound and a block.
The Warriors now move to a 22-25 record as they pass the halfway mark of their five-game road-trip. Next up is a meeting with the 76ers in Philadelphia who will be without Joel Embiid after the reigning MVP was injured in the teams' initial meeting last week.