Golden State had moments of a fantastic performance on Wednesday night on their way to a 127-107 victory over the Mavericks. Dallas - a playoff contender in the West but whom had lost two of their last three notably to Western playoff teams - looked ready to prove that they wouldn't lay down while heading into Oakland for the matchup.
In all fairness, it is hard to get up for every game in the season. Especially when the news was announced pre-game that Dirk Nowitzki would sit out the game for the dreaded "rest" virus, this seemed to be destined to be a laugher. What happened was Dallas would piece together small periodic runs all night to keep the game close.
We take a look at a few things about the game that I liked and didn't like on our way to understanding more about the matchup as a whole.
Liked - The Warriors won their 40th straight regular season home game
Before we get critical of the process, let's take a minute to enjoy the results.
The last regular season Warriors home loss was a year ago today— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) January 27, 2016
In years past - we call them affectionately the dark ages - Warriors coaches would preach protecting the home floor during the season. The local crowd was a tough place to play, even when the team was bad. We might not win a game on the road for two months, but the Warriors could always steal a game at Oracle. It might be one of the main reasons that the Warriors continue to be clear favorites for the title - you might be able to beat us in your house, but can you come to Oakland and win? Remember that last loss at home was an overtime loss to the Bulls where Kirk Hinrich sunk a very late three to tie it up and Bogut was hurt, which basically means the loss didn't count. Four more home wins gets us the all-time home streak record.
Disliked - The general consistent effort in the game last night
A win is a win - but it was frustrating to watch the level of consistent effort by the Warriors on Wednesday. After watching a technical perfection of a game against the Spurs, the Warriors treated parts of this game like a pre-season match up. The Mavericks had a few telling facts tonight:
- They shot 50.6% from the field tonight. This included being 11/31 from three. This meant a lot of layups, shots in the paint, and uncontested jumpers.
- They had big runs at the end of the first, end of the second, and though the third before the Warriors started to take the game seriously
- The Warriors weren't getting beat by all-stars - they were letting J.J. Barea, Dwight Powell, and Raymond Felton get their shots. Don't mind Chandler Parson's 23 points, he has been playing well as of late
The Warriors can look bored and then flip the switch. This is some of the reason that fans were hoping Steve Kerr would return to the bench. Last night, he begged his squad for a five-minute period of defensive excellence before finally getting it in the third. With some games coming up against the bottom of the East, the Warriors need to be ruthless in closing out to help promote rest and garbage minutes.
Liked - The Warriors never trailed in the game
This is a fun stat - they got out to a quick lead with Klay scoring 12 of the first 18 points in the game. The Mavs would sneak back with in three in the first half, then within one in the second half. Both times, the stars would take back over, a quick nine or ten point run, and GS had the comfortable lead again. They can score so quickly and defeat a team both mentally and physically. The three-point shooting alone demoralizes teams after they fight for a few baskets. It is scary and fun to watch a quick 12 point run when Curry or Klay get hot.
Liked - Curry had an "off" game, but the team picked him up
Curry's line tonight - 14 points on 4-11 shooting, but 3-7 from three. Throw in a +25 plus/minus and 9 assists
The MVP had a relatively poor shooting night, only having 3 points in the first half. Most of his points came in the third, when he hit 3 straight from beyond the arc. Why did it not matter that he had a bad night?
Kay's line tonight - 45 points on 14-20, including 7-12 from three. This included 10-10 from the line (Klay aggressive getting to the line!) and a solid +13 plus/minus.
Curry doesn't have to be the star every game. He doesn't need to score 40 to help this team win. This is why the Warriors have one of the best backcourts in the league. He has a partner. They also got great scoring balance from the rest of the team as all but one Warrior scored (Ian Clark).
Dislike - Kevon Looney not getting more playing time!
Ok this one is more for fun. The rookie made his debut with the team last night, suiting up as Festus Ezeli was off getting an MRI on his sore knee. He played just about 6 minutes, and did get taken to task trying to guard Charlie Villanueva. But the kid did get his first basket of the season - a jumper that looked quite smooth off the dribble. Here are your best Looney facts of the night:
Looney says this was the first time he shared the floor with Steph and Klay. He doesn't practice with the starters— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) January 28, 2016
Kerr says Draymond forced Looney to give the team a post game speech— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) January 28, 2016
Enjoy your time kid. Play some minutes during blowouts, and get that run down in Santa Cruz. There will be plenty of playing time for you in the years to come.
Dislike - The Warriors covering quicker players
I can handle Chandler Parsons shooting lights-out last night. He is a streaky shooter, and he is on a roll. What I can't handle is J.J. Barea and Deron Williams crossing our guards over and getting penetration to the lane for floaters and layups. Bogut doesn't want to come out to contest. We seem happy to run guys off the line to avoid them shooting threes. But when guys like Barea, and in the past Will Barton and KCP in Detroit getting all the midrange you would want, you have to remind the team to collapse, slow down the penetration and keep your man in check.
Dislike - The upcoming Warriors schedule
The Warriors head out for an East coast trip coming up, taking on the Sixers on Saturday (rest day?) and then the Knicks at MSG on Sunday (Kristap!!). The next month features only 4 home games, and a whole lot of tough Western conference match ups. I am all for aiming for 72 wins, but this is why this number is so hard to reach. The grind of the season is hard, and if the beginning of the season was any sign, I would rather rest and be ready for playoffs then overdo it for a record that means less than a ring. But that is just my opinion, and hey if the Warriors keep blowing out teams by 30 they can keep resting in the fourth anyway.
Great game, Klay deserves to be an all-star, I love watching Mark Cuban lose, my Kevon Looney jersey is on order, and sad the Warriors are headed to the East coast just as I am coming back to the West coast. A win is a win, and though the Warriors had some off moments, they still beat the Mavs by twenty, so how can we complain. I will leave you with this great article about how Golden State is ruining the psyche of their opponents, and say "until next time".