The Warriors showed they are still vulnerable, despite the dominance they’ve displayed this season.
Golden State’s 107-99 win showed a human element in their game for the first time this season, as they trailed for most of the night though still found a way to finish strong. In overtime.
Brooklyn (1-9) stepped out to an early double-digit lead they maintained into the second quarter, though Golden State (11-0) closed it to two at 54-52 to end the half.
And late in the game, the Warriors trailing by one point, guard Stephen Curry (34 points, 6 assists) caught a pass, glided through four Nets defenders, and sunk a reverse layup for the lead, graceful like a cheetah across an open plain.
But that wasn’t the story for the bulk of 48 minutes.
Nets forward Thaddeus Young recorded 14 first-quarter points, the most the Warriors have allowed to any one player in any one quarter this season.
Shooting guard Klay Thompson was out for the Warriors with back stiffness, leaving the Dubs without their best defender. Saturday, the league saw what Golden State looks like without Thompson’s defensive prowess.
As the final moments of the third quarter waned, the Warriors still trailed. A Brooklyn timeout with 2:38 remaining in the quarter allowed the Nets to regroup after they allowed their lead to dwindle to three points.
Said Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton:
“I’m pretty sure it’s the first time this season we’ve come out in the first quarter and didn’t play at a high level. That’s been a main point of ours all season, starting games well. And we didn’t compete defensively. We missed shots offensively, which we’re fine with. We’re gonna score points. We had good looks that didn’t go in. But defensively we did not compete.”
The Warriors failed to capitalize offensively, though, and forward Andre Iguodala helped on defense with a steal, rebound, and pressure in all the right situations.
Iguodala, though, would make the game’s most clutch shot: a three with five seconds left, his late-game heroics continuing into the new season, after Curry was blanketed.
“Obviously the defense is keying in on (Curry). … I just got open and created some space and got a shot off.”
“Andre plays his best when you need him to. He’s a luxury to have on the court. After he hit the three, he ran by and said something like ‘I got you coach,’ something along those lines. He’s never rattled.”
The miraculous Warriors comeback might be an early rallying point for the team, who feel like the close game was good for them. But they didn’t draw it up that way. Not missing open look after open look, nor letting the worst team in the NBA hit shot after shot.
Like a buzzer beater from former Warriors backup Jarrett Jack, which came off a blocked inbound pass that was supposed to travel across the halfcourt line.
Or Curry missing back-to-back threes, while the defense didn’t even attempt to close out and block them.
The Warriors offense wasn’t on against Brooklyn, but center Andrew Bogut was. Hands down the most effective member of the squad save Curry, Bogut went 5-for-7 from the field for 10 points, grabbing 18 boards, two steals and a block.
Draymond Green was certainly a contender too, recording a triple-double on 16 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists.
In by far the Warriors’ sloppiest game of the year, they still won. Which speaks volumes about the squad.
Brooklyn might have had a good night, too, guys who the Warriors don’t classify as shooters were hitting their stroke.
“I told them in the first time out, I said ‘we’re fine. We’re gonna make shots, lets turn it up on defense a little bit.’ And then in the second time out, when we still hadn’t turned it up on defense. I said ‘we’re not fine. It’s time to start doing something about this.’ And eventually we started competing on defense.”
Like father like son
Curry passed his father, Dell Curry, on the NBA’s all time three point list Saturday night, reaching 1,248 to his dad’s 1,245.
A moment that was sure to happen, barring some sort of freak injury, Stephen Curry hit five deep shots on the night and is on pace to break his own record of 286, and will reach about 400 if he keeps up his 44 percent clip from beyond the arc.