What a first half of the season that was!
Wednesday night's final game before the all-star break began like a good old fashioned basketball contest -- the likes of which Golden State Warriors fans have been getting used to seeing the past week. First it was the Dubs tied in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder last Saturday; then it was trailing in the third to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday. And in Phoenix, the Suns trailed just 29-28 after one quarter, and were out-shooting the Warriors 52% to 50%. An alarming performance for a 14-39 opponent that is rumored to be looking for a new head coach.
This time was different, however, as the Warriors would step up their defense earlier than usual. Golden State thumped Phoenix with a 28-15 second quarter advantage, including a game-over 16-0 run to blow this contest open in the first half. While Phoenix would occasionally get within 10 or 11 points, it was clear that they would not have enough ammunition to cause trouble. The Showtime Warriors would respond to every big score with a highlight reel steal and dime, or a mean-spirited pull-up three. And then there was this little dandy.
The win pushed Golden State to an all-time best 48-4 mark at the break. They're riding an 11-game winning streak, and they need only to finish 25-5 to break the all-time record for wins. What more to say? On to the break with a three-all-star-three salute.
Speaking of the Warriors at Suns...
- Steve Kerr surprisingly went to his small lineup, with Brandon Rush and Andre Iguodala at the forward positions, despite a 21-point advantage in the third quarter. Practice for the next time? Or fed up with the second half let downs?
- Marreese Speights looked completely capable of holding down the backup center spot in Festus Ezeli's absence. He was spry on defense, and the extra effort didn't stop him from contributing on offense.
- Bizarrely, the Suns seemed to committed to breaking the all-time record for attempted alley-oop passes in one game.
- Not to be outdone, Stephen Curry did break the all-time behind-the-back-assist record (apologies to "Pistol" Pete Maravich and Jason "White Chocolate" Williams).
- Kevon Looney sighting! And he popped his first career three-pointer for good measure, making him the best shooter in Golden State history by effective field goal percentage.
- All 13 players on the roster played at least two minutes, and ten played 14 minutes or more!
- Draymond Green consented to allow Stephen Curry to chase a triple-double this time, especially after he finished the first half with an 18-7-6 line. He would fall just short at 26-9-9 after sitting out the entire fourth quarter.
- Klay Thompson (24 points) came this close to being "on fire," a psychokinetic state in which a halo of fire physically envelope the basketball player, as well as the basketball, and all of his attempted shots are much more likely to go into the net (singing the strings as it does so) -- regardless of defensive pressure and shooting form. Thompson and teammate Stephen Curry are two of the only known practitioners in NBA history.