For a while there, I was worried. I was a bit crushed but settling into the notion that this historic start and domination of crappier and/or even good basketball teams would end. These Golden State Warriors couldn't just simply waltz into other buildings and demolish real life basketball teams the way they have the entire season. Things have to end at a certain point, right? When the Sacramento Kings rushed out to a 20-10 lead, I settled in for what felt like a grind-it-out victory against a feisty but ultimately below-average squad.
Oh, to be wrong. By the end of the quarter, only seven minutes later, the Warriors had absolutely throttled the Kings' offense and their bench had flummoxed a totally clueless Sacramento attack. Steve Kerr didn't call a timeout when the Warriors ran into the buzzsaw attack, instead deciding to let the Warriors figure things out by themselves. Andrew Bogut steadied the defense behind several blocks and a couple more stonewalls at the rim. He put an exclamation mark on his superb first half by blocking Jason Thompson at the rim with his forearm. There was no chance for Thompson at all. On offense, Stephen Curry spurted off to a quick 13-2-2 first quarter by repeatedly attacking the basket and drawing fouls James Harden-style.
The Warriors' bench dropped a 61-piece and the starters got to rest the entire fourth quarter, continuing a season-long theme that should have guys healthy and energized when the postseason begins. Beyond that, there's not much more to glean from yet another blowout against the Kings. That's a season sweep. These aren't things we should take for granted, I keep telling myself, as I take them for granted.
1. The Warriors offense doesn't so much energize their streaks as much as their defense. It's why these Warriors can sometimes start a bit slow if teams come out hitting shots. Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut aren't particularly adept rollers to the basket after picks and that can mess up the spacing for Curry as he tries to go uphill.
2. On the other side, Green and Bogut are the two best defenders on the team with subtle and tangible impact. I already highlighted Bogut. Green also guarded Demarcus Cousins on several possessions and is energetic, aware, and quick enough to sprint around him on a post-up and poke the ball away from the Kings' best player and the NBA's best offensive big man.
3. The Midrange Bench Mob was a hilarious lineup that worked because of the Kings' total unawareness. On offense, the Warriors simply just ran Shaun Livingston-Marreese Speights pick-and-pops. Sinking midrange after midrange, the Warriors were able to find enough spacing to provide open looks. On defense, they sank off anyone and everyone in doubling and packing in the paint. Without any shooters on the floor for the Kings, the Warriors enveloped loose passes and Andre Iguodala capitalized to the tune of a touchdown pass to Speights and several breakaway dunks. I'm not sure this is a very good lineup but Kerr could pretty much throw whatever he wanted on the court tonight.
4. I can't wait for Kerr to just randomly insert veterans into playoff games and them going off. Speights has to be the number one culprit for that here.
5. Harrison Barnes isn't doing much at all, and this isn't necessarily good or bad. He's the safest player and doesn't ever make bad plays to the chagrin of people who think he might become more than he is. I don't know if that's possible and we may never find out if he's stuck behind Klay Thompson, Curry, and Green on the totem pole. But his style was on display on a play in the second quarter when he zero'd in on Curry coming off a pindown screen. Bogut released for a lob dunk but Barnes was so content on running the play he missed it entirely. The Warriors scored anyway. Like I said, safe.
6. Rosalyn Gold-Onwude is a really good reporter. After reciting Draymond Green's entire speech in the huddle during the Phoenix Suns game, she gave us another tidbit on the insight of Ron Adams. A far cry from that one dude from last season.
7. David Lee blocked another shot tonight.
8. The Golden State Warriors continue their four games in five nights and play at home against the Dallas Mavericks at 7:30 PST on Wednesday night.