In 2015, the Warriors went 72-12, the most wins in a calendar year in NBA history. With their win against the Mavericks on Friday, the Warriors went 72-12 once again, an amazingly dominant two-year run.
Due to injuries, aging, and a lack of talent, Rick Carlisle’s Mavericks have finally fallen out of the playoff race despite years of gritty contention. With Harrison Barnes as their best player, the Mavs have stumbled to a 10-24 start. Watching undrafted rookies like Dorian Finney-Smith start games, an old Dirk Nowitzki, and no rim protection is an odd sight.
The Warriors didn’t come out of the gate strong. They were down for much of the first quarter, and it seemed at times that it could down the wire. But as the second and third quarters progressed, the Mavs shot a little worse from the field, and the Warriors offense seemed unstoppable. Though his team played poorly, Harrison Barnes scored 25 efficient points, sometimes even besting Defensive Player of the Year candidate and former teammate Draymond Green one-on-one.
Klay Thompson led the way for the Dubs with 29 points, including one of his patented explosions in the third quarter. Kevin Durant recorded his first triple-double in a Warriors uniform, with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. Veterans David West and Shaun Livingston shined in their stints, especially in the second quarter when the team needed a jolt of energy. The Warriors bench unit tanked in the fourth quarter, making the game seem more respectable than it actually was.
Looking back at 2016, the Warriors had many successes. They finished a 73-win season, signed Kevin Durant, and have the best record in the NBA so far this season. But the Finals loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers sticks out like a sore thumb. Just like many of us, the Warriors will happily leave 2016 behind. 2017’s championship awaits.
Random Year-End Thoughts
- Rookies Damian Jones and Patrick McCaw were back with the team after a one-game stint in Santa Cruz with the Warriors’ D-League affiliate. McCaw was out with the flu, but Jones was active. If the Warriors hadn’t given up their lead late in the game, he could’ve made his Oracle Arena debut. Alas, we’ll have to wait until next year.
- The Warriors have definitely made it a priority to put the ball in Stephen Curry’s hands more early in the game. So far, results have been mixed: pick and roll chemistry is delicate and precise. It’s still early in the season, so they have plenty of time to improve. The Warriors did do a pretty good job limiting turnovers tonight, only coughing up the ball 13 times.
- Tonight was GSOM Night! We’ll have a wrap-up of the festivities soon.
Draymond Green with a 100-second year in review talking 3-1 leads, technicals, resolutions, more pic.twitter.com/HoF7M5pNoq— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 31, 2016
- Have a happy new year, folks!