Coming back from a long road trip, the Warriors looked a little out of sorts against the New York Knicks on Thursday night. Though the Knicks were hardly a formidable opponent, the Warriors had a bunch of careless mistakes, missed open shots, and defensive miscues.
Not so today. The Warriors came out of the gate red-hot, leading 39-21 after the first quarter. The Trail Blazers had no answer defensively for the Dubs’ crisp passing and three-point marksmanship, and had particular trouble with Kevin Durant’s shooting and length. On the other end, the Warriors defense smothered Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, Portland’s two best scorers, for most of the game. It was a blowout from start to finish: the Warriors ended up winning by 45 points, 135-90.
Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 34 incredibly efficient points, sinking eleven of his thirteen field goal attempts. Draymond Green racked up thirteen assists and twelve rebounds, while Ian Clark totaled 23 points, the second-highest total on the team, off the bench. All in all, the Warriors’ offensive machine looked unstoppable.
The Trail Blazers have not had a great season. After beginning the season on a hot streak, they’ve lost six of their past seven games, mostly due to disappointments on the defensive end. Their prized offseason acquisition, Evan Turner, only scored three points tonight, and their best defensive player, former Warrior Festus Ezeli, is likely to miss the entire season due to knee surgery. Terrible news for one of our old friends.
The Warriors will face the Jazz, Nets, and Pistons before their rematch against the Cavaliers on Christmas Day. Since they’ve been so dominant so far this season, it’s sometimes difficult to gauge how well they’re progressing as a team. A game against the Cavs might yield us a few answers.
Steph Curry, Professional Curling Sweeper https://t.co/pIZJb3Nhh5— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) December 18, 2016
- Ian Clark has really proven his worth in recent weeks. In his 23 points and four assists today, he showed his knockdown shooting stroke, improved awareness while driving, and some decent playmaking. Playing alongside intelligent ballhandlers like Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green make his job as the de-facto point guard less about ball distribution and more about shooting, but it’s nice to see him under control and within the flow of the offense.
- It is very fun to watch the Warriors offense make lobs their primary offensive weapon when JaVale McGee is in the game.
- Earlier on in the season, it looked like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, two veterans over the age of thirty, were a step slower and worn down. At this point in the season, though, they look spry and confident. Both of them have found their shooting strokes , and their defense is strong. Their value as “glue guys” often goes unnoticed, but they’re incredibly important to the Warrior’s commitment to passing and overall intelligent play.