In a game so closely contested, there wasn't much to glean except to simply enjoy the literal heat waves beating down on Moda Center Sunday night by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. From Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum's creative forays into various positions around the basket, LaMarcus Aldridge's smooth midrange game, Andrew Bogut's snarl, Draymond Green's step-back three (!!) to tie the game at the end of regulation, it owned all the makings of a classic seven-game playoff series. It was exciting to simply witness what was a preview to the bloodbath between the matchup against the likely opponent: Los Angeles Clippers starting next weekend.
Curry hides many flaws. This is both good and bad: the great coming in the form of breath-taking guard play game in and game out and the bad in that it takes every little bit of his superhuman prowess to push this uber-talented squad to heights that were seemingly easy-to-reach. Sooner or later, Joe Lacob and Bob Myers will have to choose whether or not to let go or extend Mark Jackson. It's fine and dandy that Curry stays loyal to the head coach but it's hard to watch him stand in the corner while the offense initiates through Jermaine O'Neal or Harrison Barnes possession after possession. Curry is tangibly awesome. As long as he's here, the shine will never rub off on the many ills hurting this team.
Can you imagine Terry Stotts or Jeff Hornacek manning this offense?
On the last possession, with fans yearning for Curry to drop a fitting 50-spot and a game-winner like he's done so much this season, Curry simply drove through the lane and tossed a perfect pass to a waiting Andre Iguodala. Iguodala missed but Curry was clapping throughout the miss and buzzer knowing he had made the right decision and, with that, letting his teammates know, sans spoken words, that he trusts them even in the most harrowing of positions.
1. Klay Thompson is the Warriors' most improved player this season. Curry has taken his game to another level but the linear progression was expected, making it less impressive. I get that's contradictory but whatever, Thompson's been awesome since the All-Star Break. Thompson spent the game doing a number on Damian Lillard (3-13 shooting), who's struggled this season to no one's notice, and chasing Matthews and Batum through screen after screen.
Then on the other side of the court, he was slashing off the dribble, cutting to the basket on dead balls, and nailing clutch threes (9-17, 6-10, 25 points).
2. The David Lee-Draymond Green debate rages on, though tonight appeared like the most effective way to use them. They combined for 55 total minutes (overtime skewing the numbers a bit) but having Lee play just 33 compared to Green's 22 seemed smart. Though it's likely to Lee's injury, he struggled finishing and hesitated so much on the midrange jumper it made no sense for him to even shoot the ball. Lee fared fine against Aldridge's post-up game but it's always everything else on defense.
Green, on the other hand, didn't have a great game but nailed a step-back three to tie the game in regulation. It was the first time I've ever seen him make that move so if it becomes a Kevin Durant thing, I'm all for it. Just getting my hopes up.
3. Andrew Bogut left the game with a rib injury and apparently had MRIs taken after the game. Needless to say, if the Warriors don't have him in the middle, any hope of an upset are quickly vanquished. Sans Curry going nuclear each and every game. But seriously, this defense is more depressing than the Stark bloodline without Bogut in the middle.
4. The Warriors get the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight. They can clinch the six seed with a win. Or they can wait for a Memphis/Dallas loss. I'll just take the W.