This feels like a game we've seen before.
The Warrior starters are fearsome, with a display of passing that would make the Harlem Globe Trotters envious. Time and time again, the ball found the open man - often the wide-open man - with all five Warrior starters getting first-quarter assists. At one point the Warriors had 19 assists on 21 field goals.
It's easy to see how this pays off. Andre Iguodala isn't a 45% three-point shooter. Over his career, he's been closer to a 33% shooter from behind the arc and he's never broken 40% for a season before. But with the Warriors' commitment to the extra pass, he's getting wide open looks.
Curry seems to have tamed the early-season turnover problem. Klay Thompson seems to have tamed the missed layup problem. The new, lighter David Lee seems to be more dangerous inside, avoiding the everybody-can-see-them-coming blocks that plagued his game last year. They even got Bogut into the action with 8 points on 7 shots.
But there are still questions, and as good as the starters looked, the bench looked bad. Harrison Barnes took some positive steps (a couple of nice cuts for baskets) but still showed a tendency to settle for the Rudy-Gay-esque long two in light of his continued struggles to get to the basket with the ball in his hands. He's clearly rusty and seems less sharp than he seemed at the end of last season (even ignoring the playoffs).
And fan favorite Kent Bazemore, well, it's unlikely that Mark Jackson would demote him out of the lineup after one bad showing ... but if he would, then Bazemore is in trouble. With Toney Douglas hurt, Bazemore was handed a golden opportunity to prove he deserves more playing time, which he promptly dribbled off his foot. Painful as it is to say, Bazemore was flat-out bad tonight. He drove with no idea where he was going, turned the ball over in a variety of ways (3 times in 9 minutes) and showed no sense of how to run a team offense.
The stagnation of the Bazemore-led second unit was a stark contrast to the pass-happy starters. And it wasn't that Nemanja Nedovic was particularly good, but in six minutes he showed more sense of team offense (actually waiting for a screen and using it!) than Baze has shown so far this season. And the bench mob responded by actually moving off the ball.
Maybe this is what it means to be rooting for a good team. You're complaining about the play of your third-string point guard.
Mark Jackson actually avoided the bench mob, for the most part, in competitive minutes tonight. There were three very ugly minutes of Bazemore-Barnes-Green-Speights-O'Neal to start the second quarter, until Bazemore proved himself incapable of running that unit. The third quarter saw 90 seconds of Iguodala-Barnes-Green-Speights-O'Neal, but then it was into the 4th quarter and garbage time.
Jackson is clearly willing to give the bench a chance to develop and find an identity, but if nobody steps up, the team is going to have a juggling act. The starters are so magical together that it's tempting to give them a lot of minutes together, but unless/until Barnes develops his on-ball creative skills, that's still a unit of complementary players looking for a ballhandler to create some chaos, and we won't be able to count on O'Neal to go 7-8 every night. Also it's a concern that Iguodala played 32 minutes (and Curry 29) in a game where the 4th quarter didn't require that they play at all.
But look at this. We're complaining about an 18-point win. It's not that surprising, I suppose. As nice as it is to see the Warriors run away with these games, the Warriors still only have one quality win on the season (@Minnesota). Tonight they were playing a bad team on a road back to back. While none of their losses are surprising (two road back to back losses to very good teams and a two-point loss to the Spurs when Curry was hurt), there are still a lot of open questions about whether the Warriors can bring their free-flowing, ball-movement, high-octane offense to bear against good defensive teams who disrupt the passing lanes and force the Warriors to use dribble penetration to break down the defense. With Thursdays game against OKC being a back-to-back for the Thunder, it may be some time before we really know what these guys can do in a fair fight against the league's best.
It's tempting to give this to the whole starting unit, because this team really shows the epitome of team play. And I really love Iguodala's game - 11 assists, constant activity on defense, proving you can make a huge impact on offense without scoring a lot. On the other hand, when a player scores 25 points on only 10 shots (plus 9 free throws) and toss in 8 assists (against only 2 TOs), it's kind of hard not to give it to him. Especially when you throw in that twisting, spinning, right hand flip he threw down in the third quarter. Curry's going to get a lot of these this season ... but if we had a "team passing" badge I'd be sorely tempted.