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Kevin Durant leads short handed Warriors to a 112-97 victory over Dallas

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Kevin Durant’s impressive play continues, as the short handed Warriors show why ‘Strength in Numbers’ is at the core of their success.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors
Poor Max Kleber didn’t stand a chance
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors are rolling 16 deep now Quinn Cook has emerged as a genuine NBA player. They need every one of these guys right now, as the injuries/ rest excuses have piled up over the long road trip. Clearly this was a stupid question.

But it’s not just on the court the Warriors represent ‘Strength in Numbers’. I was delighted to see London well represented in the commentary booth as London-born Kelenna Azubuike joined everyone’s favourite colour-commentator Jim Barnett, and his sidekick Bob Fitzgerald.

Cor blimey, guv’nor it’s a British takeover!

As an aside, with Prince Henry marrying into the Markle family (wait, what!?), if you do need a temporary head of state for any reason in the near future I’m sure we’d be happy to oblige…

Anyway, enough London town bizness - let the games begin!

First quarter

Dallas started off looking sharp, coming off an impressive win against the Spurs on Kahwi Leonard’s return.

Our old friend Harrison Barnes opened with a corner three. Dubnation felt a pang of regret — where was that in the 2016 Finals?

The Warriors in contrast looked a little shaky, with Dallas scoring seemingly at will, and turnovers coming thick and fast. Klay Thompson was a particularly bad offender bobbling several passes off cuts.

Stating the obvious though, Kevin Durant is really, really good. Witness the fitness:

As Durant went to work the broadcast team began to ponder how you guard him? Azubuike admitted his struggles attempting to guard him ‘we played the same position but his waist came up to my chest... There’s no weakness to force him to’

So yeah, it’s basically just pray. Durant finished the quarter with 12 points.

JJ Barea was doing his best pesky gnat impression, scoring 8 points in the quarter before Kevon Looney attempted to swat him.

The opening quarter closed with Dallas up 28-24, aided by the Warriors coughing up seven turnovers.

Second quarter

The second quarter opened with more of the same. Thompson bobbled away several more passes in the face of some swarming Dallas defense led by Wesley Matthews.

Patrick McCaw, returning from a concussion, got plenty of time in this one as Nick Young was out with the same ailment. However, right now man’s not hot - in 30 minutes he only totalled one assist, two steals, and two points. My ‘quick maths’ tells me that’s not very encouraging.

Unless of course you’re fretting about how the Warriors will re-sign him in the summer. So far this season he is playing himself into a nice, affordable number. Yet again Bob Myers is Light years ahead!

The Warriors overall looked disjointed and sloppy, while the Mavericks showed the sharp execution you’d expect of a well-coached Rick Carlisle squad.

But then seventh-man-of-the-year candidate David West (that should totally be an award made up just for him), decided to wake up the millennials.

Perhaps though the under-rated star of the second quarter show was Jordan Bell, who definitely has that ‘pop, pop’. Deputizing for Draymond Green, he seems to be getting better every game he plays.

Let’s look at some of the passing he displayed on his way to a career high 8 assists. First up check how he fakes out three Mavericks before sending off this nice dish to a cutting Omri Casspi in the lane.

Here he plays a nice two man game with Klay Thompson, dribbling into a better position to create an angle to lead Thompson with a nice pass for an open jumper.

Perhaps most impressive was this defensive possession. Earlier in the season he would likely have jumped and got caught for a foul but look how he stays down, forcing a turnover. It’s great to see him learning NBA tendencies so quickly.

The Warriors entered the half all tied up at 48, having gone on a 12-3 run to get back in it.

Third quarter

The second half opened with a throwback Dirk Nowitzki three pointer. At age 39, I’ve got to show some love to the greatest European player of all time. He’s still out there doing it, and tonight led the Mavericks with 18 points and 9 rebounds.

But Bell, Durant, and Casspi were in full on ‘Warriors third quarter’ mode. Bell lived up to his ‘no dunks’ promise with a nice under the hoop layup.

Durant was really in his element, scoring all over the court as the Warriors started to take control, including this three off another nice Bell assist.

The quarter was briefly punctuated when Barnes suspiciously bullied his way to the hoop. Kerr immediately called a timeout to berate the officials for missing an offensive foul call. I mean there’s no other way Barnes could do that right?

Durant on the other hand has no such problems. Check out this take off the dribble. Is there nothing he can’t do?

He even kisses your boo-boos better!

Check the Bell and Durant defense that forced the turnover though...

Meanwhile, Casspi continued on his mission to show the world that yet another minimum contract wing that’s better than a certain $95 million dollar man.

A sign that the Warriors grip on the game was tightening - the quarter closes with Fitz throwing major shade at Zaza Pachulia’s upcoming bobble-head night. Apparently ‘it’s going to be a very large head’.

Fourth quarter

There’s no doubt the story of the fourth quarter in this one was Klay Thompson. Shaking off his earlier turnover woes, he ignited going 4-for-4 from 3-point range in scenes threatening another one of his patented explosive quarters.

That all but buried the game in truth. But it’s worth noting McCaw’s second stint was a little better, playing some encouraging defense.

There was another potential garbage time row brewing as Javale McGee entered the game with a Mo Speights garbage time shot selection. First he showed off the mid range jumper, before attempting a three pointer that bounced out. If you’re going to show up the opponent you better make the shot.

Post-script

Durant continues his fine play with Steph Curry out. Here’s the overall highlights package, but what a line - 36 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 blocks

He some interesting things to say too on the balance between him and Curry, as well as a cool impression of Casspi’s jumper. It’s a blindingly obvious statement, but what a luxury to have this guy on board. Not just an all-time talent, but a great teammate who just wants to fit in to whatever the team needs him to do.

I’ve looked a bit at McCaw’s underwhelming performance but in order to avoid being fired by the bosses, it’s fair to say he may be a little miscast as a point guard rather than a playmaking wing, as well as struggling with inconsistent playing time and rhythm.

For now it’s fine as he’ll likely get the minutes to work out some of the kinks but when everyone is healthy it still is something that needs sorting out, which was the point of my ridiculous question. As McCaw admits himself he’s prone to overthinking, and really he just needs to play to build up that rhythm and confidence.

If that doesn’t save me from the wrath of the boss, it’s be real nice writing here and I hope you’ve enjoyed it…

Steve Kerr, via Antony Slater, himself seems pretty relaxed about the situation.

“There are going to be times when we'll need him. But I thought tonight he did what was necessary. We wanted him to guard (J.J.) Barea. Barea got going in the first half. But I thought the second half, we did a better job on him. Patrick was a big part of that. We love his defense, ability to switch, guard the ball. And I think coming off the absence after the (recent) concussion, it's going to take him a couple games to find his rhythm and confidence and offensive game.”

Overall the Warriors continue to impress without a host of players, winning their 8th straight game while totaling 32 assists and shooting over 60% from the field. Strength in numbers indeed.

Poll

Who was your Warrior Wonder against the Dallas Mavericks?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Kevin Durant
    (302 votes)
  • 7%
    Klay Thompson
    (88 votes)
  • 32%
    Jordan Bell
    (371 votes)
  • 12%
    Omri Casspi
    (140 votes)
  • 19%
    Andre Iguodala
    (222 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (Leave your answer in the comments)
    (3 votes)
1126 votes total Vote Now