If I had told you before the season started that Andrew Bogut would play 78 limited minutes in four games, Brandon Rush tears his ACL and is out for the season, Klay Thompson shoots 30.3% on threes and Curry 41.2% from the field, would you guess they'd be 9-6 and tied for first in the Pacific Division?
I had this saved in my back pocket when the Warriors were down 16 and was ready to pounce on it after the game.
David Lee has had his shot blocked 30 times this season. Most in the NBA.— chris palmer (@ESPNChrisPalmer) November 30, 2012
Then this happened.
31 pts, 9 rebs, 6 asts, 13-15 FG, 5-7 FT.
A bevy of right-handed post moves and offensive put-backs propelled Lee into his best game of the year. Lee takes a lot of flak for the way he plays defense but he does present a lot of positives for this Warriors team. He has amazing touch for a big man, a nice shooting stroke and a non-stop motor.
Also is a nightmare for defenses on the pick-and-pop.
However, this game doesn't cover his shortcomings as he repeatedly missed rotations as usual and even mixed up who he was guarding at times (luckily Corey Brewer missed the wide-open three). All part of the plan though.
Now I'm not going to call this game a season-changer or some kind of monumental victory that will spark them to an improbable playoff run, but it was a victory that wasn't plausible in earlier seasons.
Of course, some Warriors-esque moments still littered this game, from Jack's mind-numbingly dumb foul on Iguodala to the endless amounts of offensive rebounds they gave up.
Most importantly, the age-old cliche "they found a way to win" came to fruition last night.
Not really sure how that makes sense because when teams win, they must have found a way to win, else they wouldn't have won. Can a team win without finding a way to win?
Whatever it meant, the Warriors did precisely that.
There are no wrong players here but it was hard not to notice Jarrett Jack on the court the whole game.
As we know, Mark Jackson likes to run his three-guard rotation in spurts when Curry is struggling a bit. Jack came in for Harrison Barnes and pretty much sat the rookie on the bench the rest of the game.
He hit three threes in the first half to keep the Warriors in the game. Then he helped spark a run in the second half with excellent probing into the defense and great decision-making. One particular play that stood out was on a turnover by Denver; Jack ran down the court and had Curry on his right and Klay set up on the wing to his left. He slowed his dribble a bit to the free-throw line, faked a pass to the right and in one motion zipped it to the corner where Klay stood.
Klay has ALL THE THREES!
1) Coach Mark Jackson went hyper-minuscule, Don Nelson-esque in his rotations early in the second half to provide a spark. It worked. The combination of Carl Landry and Draymond Green (+5 and +4, respectively) helped provide energy both offensively (Landry) and defensively (Green). Curiously, it was the lineup without David Lee that got the Dubs back into the game. I'm not really sure what that means for David Lee, either. Just a weird team.
It obviously won't sustain but a wonderful wrinkle Jackson threw out there, be it planned or not.
While Jackson was busy going small, George Karl left JaVale McGee in there (presumably to do JaVale things) but he ended up taking weird floaters and airballing fadeaways that led to several transition buckets for the Warriors. That was the turning point of the game for me.
Jackson out-coached Karl. This assertion culminated in Karl drawing up an in-bounds play that was a lob to Ty Lawson at the end of the game. Um, you know Andre Iguodala can jump, right?
Jackson out-coaching ______. Not something you expect to hear every day. Or week. Or ever.
2) Y'all remember Harrison Barnes is a rookie, right? Not sure what your expectations were before the season started but 14 games in, some of us (me) was ready to hand over more offensive freedom to the rookie. It's only natural that he still struggle but there is a bit of concern in that Jackson seems to trust Jack with the ball no matter the situation.
This usually leaves Barnes on the bench because he doesn't play the power forward position as well as Draymond Green. Barnes missed a couple short jumpers and seemed to be forcing his penetrations in search of another poster.
It's just one game but it's a situation worth monitoring. Not sure how much Jackson plans to go with the gimmicky Curry-Jack-Klay formation but it's to the detriment of Barnes.
3) Stephen Curry is starting to come into himself as the confident leader and closer of the team. He stroked a three after Corey Brewer scissor-kicked his back (half-joking) and went on to score ten points in the fourth quarter.
Oh and those silly touch fouls he always get because he can't stay in front of his defender? Three steals.
And he played great last-second defense on Lawson even though the refs blew the call.
You know Curry is bursting with confidence when he is shooting threes with 20 seconds left on the shot clock like he's still at Davidson.
Curry said he was running off the court because he needed to pee. Refs stopped him so they could confirm that need in replay. #warriors.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) November 30, 2012
Oh yeah, that. It was a weird game for the Warriors.
What's weirder are the next six opponents: Indiana, Orlando, Detroit, Brooklyn, Washington and Charlotte.
Wait, that's not weird. That's freaking awesome. It's Andris Biedrins making six free throws in a row awesome.
Here's a little capper for you. (hint: check comments).