First Quarter: 32 - 18
Draymond Green started things off by stealing a shaky Paul George drive, prompting an interesting stat from Jon Barry: the All Star forward has accrued more turnovers than assists since December 1st. The Warriors as a team came out sharp on both ends of the floor, pushing the ball early in transition and communicating efficiently on defense, jumping to a 12 - 6 leave within the first three minutes.
The ESPN crew did a good job highlighting the jovial relationship between newly returned Steve Kerr and his lead assistant Luke Walton. Out of the aforementioned timeout, Kerr told his players, "I don't know about you guys, but that was great coaching".
Klay Thompson came out aggressive on the offensive end, but not in the way Warrior fans are used to seeing. After perhaps a lackluster performance in terms of court awareness and shot selection, Thompson seemed to make a concerted effort to allow the ball movement to flow through him, often looking to make an extra pass. He had a great find out of transition, assisting Andre Iguodala on a dunk, to put the Warriors up 25 - 8 and continued an 8 - 0 run that gave the Warriors some separation.
Stephen Curry joined this commitment to sharing the ball, constantly looking downhill after securing defensive rebounds for potential fast break opportunities. Twice he connected with a streaking Draymond for largely uncontested looks.
Coach Kerr went with Andre off the bench first (of course), then platooned Leandro Barbosa and Festus Ezeli in for Klay and Andrew Bogut, who also had an active quarter on the defensive end, at around the 4:30 mark of the quarter.
Ezeli picked up three fouls in three minutes, as Kerr went to Marreese Speights early.
The Warriors played a fairly dominant quarter overall. They kept the Pacers off the line (two FTA), while holding them to 32% shooting from the field. Meanwhile, the Warriors shot 57% from the field, grabbed 16 rebounds, assisted on 10 of their 13 FGM while turning the ball over only three times.
Also, Luke Walton displayed elite muscle memory:
Luke Walton forgot he isn't the Head Coach anymore and sits back down https://t.co/JHc0nmD0uM— Jae Azizi (@JaeAzizi) January 23, 2016
Curry went for seven points, five assists, and seven rebounds in the first frame of action alone. He also swished another three-quarters court shot, after the buzzer. Draymond capitalized off of his speed advantage for 13 points on seven shots.
Stephen Curry's seven boards in the first quarter are a new career-high for rebounds in a quarter (@EliasSports).— GSWStats (@gswstats) January 23, 2016
Steph Stephin' even when it doesn't count https://t.co/xu4aw25TvV— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) January 23, 2016
Second Quarter: 64 - 51
Shaun Livingston, Barbosa, Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, and Speights started the second quarter off for Kerr. Miles Turner, a very good prospect, and Joe Young led the Pacers in an 9 - 0 run against the Warriors' hapless second unit in about two minutes, prompting Kerr to jettison Klay into the action for Barbosa.
Myles Turner has really helped Pacers so far. Game stabilized when he came in.— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) January 23, 2016
The bench unit picked up three fouls in less than three minutes, one of them a dubious flagrant on Speights (two shots and a foul) and the other a foul on a jump shooter. The bench unit would foul a jump shooter twice in the quarter, once by Andre and the other by Barnes. They also turned the ball over twice as the healthy ball movement fruit once again withered on the vine as soon as Dray and Steph sat.
It's hard to comprehend how a lineup with Livingston and Andre continues to fail to find traction offensively. It took four minutes for the Warriors to score a field goal. The aforementioned ball handlers often did not initiate any sort of play, nor was there much off-ball movement in an attempt to stretch the defense or otherwise make successful scoring anything less than an arduous task.
In other words, once again the starters gave us beautiful, cruelly efficient basketball; only to have the bench bumble the torch as the starters exited the floor.
Thankfully, the Pacers missed plentiful opportunities by clanking free throws early and often in the quarter, to the tune of just 4 - 9 FTAs halfway through the quarter. The bench overall, though, had a stretch of scoring 24 points consecutively for their team and shot nearly 70%, buoyed by a strong performance from Turner and Young. Their combined 24 points (18 FGAs) outscored the entire Pacers starting five (29 FGAs, 18 points).
Oh, and Curry decided he'd make two half court shots in a game, except this time he shot it with time left on the clock; that three was Curry's 200th of the year, making him the only player to make 200 threes in four consecutive seasons.
Stephen Curry has made 6 shots of 30 feet and beyond this season. Nobody else has more than 2— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 23, 2016
Curry's three point escapades masked the fact that Kerr went with the Small Ball Death Squad (Curry - Klay - Andre - Barnes - Green) and the Pacers... actually, held around nicely, edging into the lead a bit until two late Curry threes.
Every single Pacer starter held a double-digit negative +/- going into the half. Except for Chase Budinger (-2), every Pacer reserve held a positive +/-. The inverse held true for the Warriors, as Barnes (+11) held the lowest +/- for the Warrior starter, mostly because he was on the court during the second quarter molasses.
Coach Kerr opted to bench perhaps his best non-Iguodala bench wing in Brandon Rush, as he, Ian Clark, and Jason Thompson picked up DNPs in the opening half of play. Draymond did not attempt a shot in the second quarter.
Third Quarter: 88 - 75
The second half opened up with a failed lob attempt to Bogut. Draymond had significantly eased off the gas pedal in terms of forcing lobs into tight windows ever since mid-November. The Pacers cut the lead down to nine within the first two minutes, aided by Warrior turnovers. Coach Kerr called a timeout in response.
The Warriors started the half 0 - 5 from the field. The Pacers are #3 in defensive efficiency this year, and it showed. Their wings' long arms and solid scouting/coaching gave the Warriors' fits as their defense forced the Warriors to look for second and tertiary options and progress longer into their play sets, slowing the pace and reducing their rhythm.
And yet... it was sort of glorious to watch the Warrior starters bang their head against the wall for a little bit against a quality defense. Harrison Barnes and Steph Curry combined for a few fortuitous offensive rebounds off of long misses, which led to quick, rapt swings from one side of the court to the other for open looks.
Klay had a rough shooting performance in the quarter. Oh, and Monta Ellis burned Andre on an And-1 18 foot jumper, because of course he did.
Ezeli checked back into the game at approximately the same time as Turner. Has anyone noticed the Warriors like to burn a possession by just tossing it into the post whenever Ezeli checks in? It's like a sacrificial ritual necessary in order to summon Ezeli.
By the middle of the quarter, Steph was dangerously close to a second triple double on the year. Unfortunately... well, Barbosa wasn't aware.
Haha, crowd annoyed at LB for Bartmaning Curry's triple double— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) January 23, 2016
The Warriors finished with seven FGMs and six turnovers on the quarter, a sloppy affair that the Dubs were lucky to break even in. Ellis burned the Warriors for all 15 of his points in the quarter.
"I'm finally at the point where I feel ready to go." https://t.co/xt5vPzMbTB— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 23, 2016
Fourth Quarter: 122 - 110
Do I even have to say it? The Warriors bench blew another lead, allowing the Pacers to come right back into the game on a 7 - 0 run, aided by more turnovers and failure to box out/stop the ball in transition. Once again failing to establish offensive flow, and making field goals look harder than Steph Curry full-court shots.
Ezeli is just outclassed by Bogut as a defensive presence inside the key or on the defensive glass. They are not in the same galactic province. The duo of Turner and Lavoy Allen mauled the big man in the early fourth, four offensive boards in less than three minutes of play.
Draymond Green has his 16th double-double of the season (38th career) with 17 points and 10 rebounds.— GSWStats (@gswstats) January 23, 2016
Harrison Barnes has a season-high 11 rebounds to go along with a season-high-tying four assists.— GSWStats (@gswstats) January 23, 2016
The Warriors refused to stop fouling jump shooters, as Draymond got in on the fun on a clear hack on the rookie Turner. Kerr continued to try to go small against the large Indiana frontline, conceding points in the paint (over 50 in the game) in exchange for speed and versatility.
Steph captured that elusive 10th rebound to complete his triple double, and promptly got another bump/bruise/stinger to add to his collection, this time on his shooting hand/wrist. Nothing serious (he stayed in the game). The starters were cheered off the court with a minute and a half left on the court.
The bottom of the bench Pacers cut into a more convincing margin, as opponents playing the Warriors in the fourth are wont to do. Your box score.
Warriors are 20-0 at home, extending a franchise-best home start. It's their fourth-straight season posting at least 20 wins at home.— GSWStats (@gswstats) January 23, 2016
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