A win is always a win.
Regardless of how ugly and sluggish of a start the Golden State Warriors continuously get out to, they're still defeating the teams they're supposed to.
Their 89-84 road win over the young and inexperienced Philadelphia 76ers not only moves Golden State to 32 games above .500 for the first time since 1976, but also solidified their second consecutive season sweep over Philly.
Tired legs make for poor shooting percentages; neither point-god Stephen Curry nor swingman Klay Thompson were exempt. Both guards shot a combined 11-for-34 from the field. As a team, the Warriors shot 24 percent from behind the arc, hitting only 7 of 29 hoisted. You wouldn't know the team from Oracle is the NBA's second-best 3-point shooting squad if only checking out this performance. Good thing there's another 32 games to go in the regular season; they've got enough time to live up to their most popular moniker.
Visibly slower and borderline lethargic in the first half of games lately, they were outscored 20-24 in the first quarter. Fortunately for Steve Kerr and company, the Warriors have a bench full of players capable of starting on teams .500 and above.
Forward Andre Iguodala ended the night with 13 points, and Marreese Speights followed with 10. There wasn't one W's player that shot over 25 percent from deep, with exception for Leandro Barbosa, who hit his only trey ball for 100 percent. Once again, Barbosa stood out from the pack, providing enough energy off the bench to get the Warriors going.
It could be time to change Barbosa's nickname. These days he's less of a blur and more of a spark off the bench. An 11-year career will put miles on the body, and undoubtedly Barbosa's first step isn't as lethal. However, Barbosa's contributing more than the occasional sunk jumper. He's emerging as another weapon on the wing in Kerr's arsenal. With the ability to occasionally move Thompson to the small-forward, paired with Klay and Curry, Barbosa could be a quick shooting piece in what could be a devastatingly accurate shooting wing.
It was imperative for a bench player to step up, and Barbosa was ready to capitalize. The "Brazilian Spark" ran off five quick buckets to end up at the second leading scorer for the Warriors on the night. 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting was his final tally, and once again the Warriors were able to show off their depth. It's depth that will serve as a saving grace down the stretch in games, later in the season, and Oracle forbid in the latter moments of any post-season series'.
The NBA regular season is certainly a marathon. However, the pace speeds up a bit after the season's mid-point. With one contest left before the All-Star break, perhaps Steve Kerr will throw his second-unit a few extra minutes against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.
Both Curry and Thompson are slated to perform in two events on the weekend, and although they'll get much-needed time off, it's imperative for the Warriors to take advantage of the upcoming All-Star break. Health issues can no longer serve as the reason for sub-par endings on the season. Stay away from the parties boys, rest up and claim your destiny.