Coming off of an impressive come-from-behind victory against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night, the Warriors traveled to Brooklyn to play the second game of a back-to-back on Sunday against the Nets. If playing two games in two nights wasn’t tough enough, the Warriors would be short-handed as Kevin Durant was out of the lineup to rest his ankle, which he sprained against the 76ers. With the Nets coming into this game with a 6-9 record and near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, there looked to be some trap potential with this game. Though both teams would combine to make it interesting in the final quarter, ultimately the Warriors would dominate most of the game and earn a 118-111 victory.
Chef Curry was cookin’ in Brooklyn
With Durant sitting this game out, everyone expected Stephen Curry to have one of his signature absurd offensive performances. It was clear in the first quarter that Curry had rebounded from his brief offensive slump against the Celtics and for parts of the win over the 76ers and was going to light up the scoreboard.
Make it 13 for Steph! pic.twitter.com/wbP56UmbYo— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 19, 2017
Curry scored 13 points in the first quarter and his offensive proficiency continued into the second. Here he is scoring 3 of his 9 points on an outstanding step-back 3-pointer.
HIT EM WITH THE STEPH BACK pic.twitter.com/Y4GeR1WdPs— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 20, 2017
Curry’s effect on this game was not limited to his scoring. In addition to the game-high 39 points he scored, Curry also recorded 11 rebounds (a season-high), 7 assists, and 3 steals. It was an impressive and well-rounded performance, as Curry finished just three assists shy of a triple-double.
Curry’s final basket of the night was perhaps his most spectacular and it came as the Nets were making a run, having cut the Warriors’ lead to six.
Whirling dervish from Steph - 39 for the 2x MVP!! pic.twitter.com/x5RF2I4zdo— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 20, 2017
That circus-style layup gave the Warriors an eight-point lead as they looked poised to pull away again and seal the victory.
However, Curry’s foul troubles made another untimely appearance in this game. He picked up his fifth foul at the end of the third quarter, causing him to sit the remained of the third and much of the fourth (when the Nets made a run to get back into the game). Curry reentered the game with 6:41 left to play but, after making that remarkable layup to put the Warriors up by 8, earned his sixth personal foul on this charge with three minutes left in the game.
Steph fouls out - tough call pic.twitter.com/qIujgOpxwV— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 20, 2017
It was definitely a tough call for the official to make, especially with it being Curry’s sixth. But his night was over prematurely and the game still hung in the balance. Even though Curry exited the game early, his performance was amongst his best for this season and we saw him get back on track offensively after some recent struggles.
Casspi and the bench step up with Durant out
With Durant missing Sunday’s game, head coach Steve Kerr selected Omri Casspi to take his place in the starting lineup. Much like Curry’s impressive first quarter, Casspi would start the game out with a good stretch of basketball.
Very productive start from Casspi, who had six points, three rebounds and a block in seven minutes before checking out midway through the first.— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) November 19, 2017
Casspi ended the game with 12 points along with 8 rebounds in a season-high 23 minutes of action, helping the Warriors to take the lead early in the game. It was an impressive performance from the new free-agent acquisition as he continues to earn more and more minutes in Kerr’s rotations.
The Warriors also received nice contributions from other bench players, helping to make up for Durant’s absence. Nick Young continued his hot shooting of late by coming off the bench and scoring 8 points, going 2-for-4 from 3-point range.
Swaggy 3 is on the board pic.twitter.com/ga5ffrxGG8— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 19, 2017
Andre Iguodala also had a good game against the Nets, finishing with a season-high 12 points that included a season-high two 3-pointers. Iguodala played on the Warriors second unit that pushed the lead from 12 at the end of first quarter to 17 midway through the second while Curry was able to rest on the bench.
Between Iguodala and David West, who had 2 points, 2 assists, 2 defensive rebounds, and 2 blocks before subbing out at the 6:32 mark of the second quarter, the Warriors continued to have the “steady second unit” that The Athletic’s Anthony Slater highlighted in his recap of the game against the 76ers. That steady second unit allowed the Warriors to build on their first quarter lead and increase it to a 22-point lead at the half.
Another player who continued his string of impressive play against the Nets was Kevon Looney. In 12 minutes of playing time, Looney scored 4 points to go with his 3 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Kevon Looney bucket and 1⃣ pic.twitter.com/o3hwbULTM4— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 19, 2017
Hey as long as the ball goes in the net right? pic.twitter.com/LLBxNozv3t— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 20, 2017
Looney continues to be one of the biggest surprises for the Warriors thus far this season, as he went from a marginal player seemingly on the verge of being released to someone who is a part of Kerr’s rotations. One wonders how long Looney can continue to get these minutes, but it is nice to see him playing well and getting time to shine on the court.
Shooting woes hinder the Nets
While the Warriors defense was tenacious for the bulk of Sunday’s game, they were aided by some remarkably cold shooting by the Nets. The Nets shot 35.8% from the field on Sunday, well below their season average of 43.9%. They were even colder in the first half of the game, only shooting 28% when the halftime buzzer sounded. Between cold shooting and untimely turnovers (the bulk of which came as the Warriors amassed their large leads), the Nets were unable to get much going in the way of offense early in the game.
Allen Crabbe led the team with 25 points on 9-for-19 shooting, but the bulk of those came in the third and fourth quarters as the Nets scrambled to overcome a large deficit. Though the Warriors played well and dominated the game, the Nets did themselves no favors by digging an even bigger hole that they would have to try and climb out of.
The game gets interesting in the fourth
While the Warriors led by as much as 28 points, the game became much tighter in the fourth quarter. After cutting the halftime lead in half at the end of the third, the Nets continued to claw back into the game in the fourth. Part of why the Nets were able to cut the Warriors lead came from their ability to get to the free-throw lines. The Nets shot 14 free throws in the fourth quarter, using their ability to drive, draw contact, and get to the line to get back into the game. Spencer Dinwiddie shot 7 of his game-high 13 free throws in the fourth, as he ended the game with 21 points along with 8 assists. Dinwiddie and Crabbe both recovered from slow starts and poor shooting to score 15 points in the fourth, helping the Nets to cut the lead to as little as five.
With Curry on the bench having fouled out, his fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson picked up the slack and knocked down some critical shots in the game’s waning minutes to clinch the Warriors victory.
Klay Thompson with the clutch triple! pic.twitter.com/oT9Sb4pgOL— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 20, 2017
Thompson scored 11 points in the final quarter, 7 coming in during the final two minutes as he, along with some stellar defense from Draymond Green, capped the Warriors victory. Thompson, much like Curry, was able to contribute in ways that went beyond scoring.
Klay Thompson finished with 23 points and a regular-season career-high-tying 10 rebounds, his third career double-double— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) November 20, 2017
Earning his first double-double since the 2014-2015 season, Thompson again showed that he’s developing into a well-rounded player who can contribute in many facets of the game rather than just being a spot-up shooter. While Curry helped the Warriors amass a big lead, it was Thompson and Green (5 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks) that helped them stay in front as the Nets made their last big run.
The Warriors now have two days off before playing in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night against Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and the Thunder in what promises to be an exciting and emotional game.