MAN have I been waiting a while to get that out of my system. Last night's game really solidified that the Warriors have truly earned their current winning record. Granted we've only seen 5 games out of them but slowly but surely the Dubs are transitioning their way out of flukesville and into the oft-coveted realm of a consistent team.
Jazz vs Warriors boxscore | Jazz vs Warriors recap
What the hell is going on here? Let's have some fun - insert your best caption for this picture in the comments.
I know what you're thinking. Last night's low scoring affair didn't exactly exemplify consistency. As I sat at the Arena, I couldn't believe how long the Warriors went at times without scoring a bucket; especially in the first half! I can't really say that there was a plague of poor shot selection either - many of the misses came from good shot choices that simply wouldn't drain.
No, the consistency that I speak of pertains to an all around effort. The true mark of a consistent team isn't shooting 60% from the field, it's knowing when certain things are working and certain things aren't. When shots aren't falling, a consistent team knows to lean on the variables that they can control; forcing those turnovers and crashing the boards. After all, subpar shooting has no consequences if you keep getting the ball back. Right?
The Warriors that I saw last night would definitely agree. And I haven't seen Warriors fight like that in quite a while...
You know and I know it, the first half of that game was messy. The only real highlight of the first quarter was the amazing hustle of David Lee. I absolutely love that Utah, a team that has notoriously dominated us size-wise in the past, got the full taste of Lee. Wherever there was a missed shot, Lee was right behind it with a put back attempt that no doubt left the Jazz big men completely dazed.
I can't stress enough about the impact that our rebounding had on this game. Both Lee and Biedrins were wiping the glass like Windex; each of them coming away from the game with 7 offensive boards. That's a total of FOURTEEN second chances that we had during the course of the game, just off of their rebounding! This has been a missing vital element of the Warriors for years, including our not-so-recent magical playoff run. When the Warriors of old got cold, they froze over. Missed shots meant missed possessions. For those of you that have been reading GSoM for years, you'll know exactly what I mean when I refer to Atma's famous* past references to our Charmin Soft inside presence.
* By "famous" I meant that Atma and I talked about it once and then high-fived.
Last night Lee and Andris showed us what it was like to have a team with actual big men. And it felt good. But it wasn't just our rebounding; Ellis (and Curry at times) did an amazing job of forcing turnovers. At the end of the night Monta grabbed 7 steals. Throw those on that rebound count. That makes 21 second chances. That's no joke, especially in a game where we were tossing up enough bricks to build a cathedral.
"Keep it up boys! We need some more for the right tower!"
Overall, our defense last night was impressive. How impressive you ask? Let me put it this way. We scored about 30 points less than we usually do. We had 4 minute chunks of regulation time without scoring a bucket. The price of a giant beer has gone up to $11. (Not sure how that's related but I wanted to be sure to bring that up.) Yet the entire time, Utah looked like the worst team on the floor. We were in their face and, by the end of the game, in their heads. I haven't seen that many air balls since the last time I tried to shoot free throws! (Sadly that's more true than I would like it to be.)
Tomorrow the Warriors take on Detroit in their first of five games on the east coast. We've successfully passed the "Win Home Game" test. It's time to show this league that we can do the same thing on the road.
LGW baby. LGW.
While Monta was of course money and Andris was incredible on the glass, I have to give this one to David Lee. Aside from his amazing performance on the glass, all of his buckets came from true grit and incredible hustle. When all was lost and we couldn't buy neither swish nor bank, there was Lee to slam the rock home and get the entire Arena up on their feet. And for that, he's walking away with a well earned Wonder.