When the schedule comes out sometime a month or two before the season actually begins, you're circling this as a win. At home, against an aging team on their second game in two nights? Why even bother circling it, actually. An 82-game drip is one that begets slow and forgettable 48-minute affairs. Sometimes you get ridiculous comebacks against the Toronto Raptors. Sometimes you get exactly what you were expecting. The Nets came in tired, played some awful defense, hung around because of pride or something, but never seriously threatened as the Warriors made just enough of their avalanche of open jumpers to win.
As is the case, there's one play of the game I highlight to hyperbolically use as symbolic of the entire thing itself. Andre Iguodala soared for a rebound, dribbled down the court, pulled an in-n-out dribble on Mirza Teletovic, then uncorked his signature Go-Go-Gadget arms in a fashion we haven't seen all season, and threw down a gorgeous hammer dunk. In one sequence, we saw how Iguodala can assert himself on offense without looking entirely lost the way he has the past two games.
Kerr was unconcerned when I asked him about Iguodala's burst of aggressiveness in the first half, "He took good shots. He had threes that were right there. I thought his play in the last three minutes of the second quarter was what sparked us."
Iguodala isn't as athletic as he was in his prime but there's plenty of juice left in the tank. There's more than a necessity on this team for a wing who can defend, dribble, cut, and finish. Today wasn't a huge step but it was one.
1. The Warriors passed the ball to death. And against a hapless Nets defense that featured feet of molasses like Brook Lopez and Teletovic, there was no chance. 30 assists to 10 turnovers is much improved and superb no matter which way you slice it.
Kerr seemed ecstatic about it after the game and kept talking about taking good shots no matter where it occurred on the floor. "I want them to be explosive but a little less wild. You don't want to take away their spirit but we want to be smart."
2. If you haven't noticed, and enjoyed, the recent spate of Marreese Speights, he's officially overtaken Festus Ezeli as the backup center for now. Though most assume, correctly, that this was more of a David Lee absence-offense thing, Kerr stated that Mo earned those minutes by working hard in practice. There's truth to both sides, I guess.
3. There are some gorgeous inbounds plays being drawn up by the Warriors coaching staff. They're using the spacing of Klay Thompson and Curry to run around screens to misdirect the defense. It's leaving Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green absurdly wide open.
4. Barnes had quite the hot start tonight and fared just as well against the San Antonio Spurs two nights ago. I wasn't able to make it to the first quarter because of an apparent huge car accident around Oracle but Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders assures me they were all good shots on jumpers and drives. Kerr has also seemed to use him as a stretch-four player. I'm not sure how highly this speaks of his NBA future but it's working right now, which is working out for everyone.
5. Andrew Bogut dribbled down the court and pulled one of the slowest crossover moves and it worked. On Kevin Garnett. Yikes, Kevin.
6. Draymond Green might be the best interior passer on this team behind Bogut. He made several excellent kickout dishes to Thompson and several more to Speights and Bogut underneath. Just your usual, superb, Draymond Green game.
7. Overthinking. If there's ever a team doing it so blatantly, it's this team right now. It doesn't necessarily happen often, especially not when the defense is cooking and the crowd is riled up beyond belief. But in the third and early fourth quarters, the Warriors spent much of it pump-faking through open shots and passing and passing and passing to each other. It was a circle j*** of open jumpers passed up leading to bricks. I guess that's what happens when there's not many confident shooters out there with Shaun Livingston, Iguodala and Leandro Barbosa manning the second unit.
On more than one occasion, the Warriors refused to cut, instead veering farther and farther from the intended paint area to receive the ball. This might just be the case of lack of familiarity - as the starting unit backdoors almost at will - and the stubbornness to run a play.
Kerr: "What I tell our guys is that we are six weeks into this as a staff and as a team we are just scratching the surface of what we are going to be."