The Golden State Warriors have had an easy schedule of games this week, which bodes well for their upcoming slate of formidable opponents in the Grizzlies, Spurs, and Rockets twice.
Last night's victory against the Sacramento Kings is the fifth straight blowout win for the Warriors that saw Stephen Curry resting in the fourth quarter. In that span, Curry has sat out for nearly 30 minutes of playing time, about a full game's rest.
While he was on the court, the back-to-back MVP was wheelin' and dealin' on offense and stealing the ball left and right on defense. The Warriors set a new franchise record by dishing out 30 or more assists for the 44th time this season. Last night, they recorded 37 assists on 44 made field goals. Early in the first quarter, Curry dazzled the crowd by wrapping the ball around his waist before dishing it to Shaun Livingston for a dunk.
Even JaVale McGee got an assist. After grabbing a tough offensive rebounding in traffic, McGee found Curry who drained a three. Golden State doesn't get a ton of second-chance points, but they have the shooters to punish a scrambling defense when they do. In just 12 minutes, McGee pulled in 10 rebounds, 6 of which came on the offensive end. The athletic big man displayed his knack for keeping possessions alive in the game against Oklahoma City earlier this week, and the Warriors made a triple after all three of his offensive rebounds.
The ground-bound Zaza Pachulia is a markedly different kind of big man, and he created a three for a teammate in his own way midway through the third quarter. The Georgian bulldozed his way into the lane before whipping a no-look pass to Draymond Green for a triple of his own. Kevin Durant led the bench unit in celebration, but Zaza wasn't done. After a timeout, the big man once again made a pretty pass to Green for another triple.
Nonetheless, Curry, who garnered a team-high 12 assists, had the play of the game. After intercepting a pass late in the third (one of his six steals), Curry threw a touchdown pass to Andre Iguodala, who went behind the back and flicked up an incredible layup. From The Mercury News:
“That’s a pass that I wouldn’t have looked over at Coach Kerr if it didn’t land in Andre’s hands,” Curry said. “Because I know what he would say.”
The Kings cut into the lead, which forced Curry to check back into the game in the fourth quarter in what should have been garbage time. After being a distributor for most of the game, Curry found his stroke from beyond the arc with three straight triples.
With a challenging schedule lurking, it was nice of the Kings to give the Warriors a day off to work on their ball movement.