Andre Iguodala turned in one of his best games of the season (24 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals) as the Golden State Warriors took on the Atlanta Hawks. Earlier in the year — maybe after his first double-digit scoring game of the year — he replied wryly to a post game interview question with something along the lines of, “I can still play. Y’all forget that.”
He came through when we needed him most, and no, we never forget that he can play.
The Warriors have won every contest where Andre Iguodala has reached the 20-point threshold (15-0 mark in the regular season and playoffs).— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) March 7, 2017
We just want to see more of it because we know how good he can be when fully engaged. Hopefully we don’t need to conspire with our opponents to add any adversity to the rest of our season. But let’s talk about how we got there tonight...
The first quarter was all Dennis Schroder. It’s hard to say if the Warriors came out flat or if this guy just had one of those mini-stretches where everything went right. He was the catalyst for the Hawks with a monstrous 19 point quarter on 7-of-9 shooting. Paired with Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard on the inside, the Hawks were more than the Warriors could handle. After just one quarter, Golden State had coughed up 42 points and faced a seven point deficit.
I’m not sure it will put any of the more nervous fans at ease, but for what it’s worth, the bench absolutely saved this game in the second quarter. The refs whistled Steve Kerr into a corner when both Draymond Green and Klay Thompson were forced to the bench with three fouls apiece less than halfway through the quarter.
The bench came in and more than answered the call. Iguodala and Ian Clark poured in points, David West and JaVale McGee played solid defense and the backups were able to hang on and even reduce the deficit to within five points as the teams headed into halftime. From there, it was a standard third quarter smashing — 33-24, advantage Warriors — and then a slow inexorable crawl as Golden State used a team effort to slowly strangle the Hawks out of the game in the fourth.
With Kevin Durant unavailable, we know that the team will need other players to step up on both offense and defense. That happened tonight.
Clark (10 points) and Patrick McCaw (nine points) were both firing and hitting their three pointers tonight, which really transforms the impact of the bench. We all know that the team wants more of that. Hopefully their success tonight will encourage them to be less hesitant with their shots.
Also, Matt Barnes fits in here. He may not be anywhere close to elite, but his ability to dribble, pass and shoot with reasonable acumen makes him a fairly seamless addition.
There was another play by Barnes that reminded me of the “We Believe” Barnes. Dribbling down the court he pushed into traffic before pulling the defense to the side and delivering a behind-the-back pass that was actually useful. He coughed it up later trying to force a pass, but Barnes showed that he can earn some minutes in the rotation
Oh, and Stephen Curry is already trending out of his shooting slump.
Steph Curry started the road trip 4-of-35 from 3. He's 11-of-23 from deep since. Couple daggers late tonight in Atlanta.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 7, 2017
The Warriors are happy to be headed home after a brutal road trip. It doesn’t really count though, since they are just home for one game before getting right back on the road. For now, a couple of lost games and one lost superstar are weighing heavily on everyone.
But there is a glimmer of goodness hidden in these trying circumstances. The Warriors are discovering their backbone. After being down 15 on the road, against a playoff team, on the tail end of a back-to-back, the Warriors dug deep and won the game. Not solely on the strength of their stars, but through a non-trivial team effort. These are the types of games that harden a team and truly prepare them for the rigors of the playoffs.
Warriors have Tuesday off, then host the Boston Celtics on Wednesday at 7:30.
Post game updates:
(there’s two of them!?) featuring Andre, and another featuring Dray’s beef with the Hawks gameplan is one of those silly things that gets Draymond Green going. The quote from Budenholzer is pretty innocuous, but do you, Draymond.
SF gate recap (pretty good look back at the roadtrip)
Links and notes:
Warriors Soundcloud - all audio interviews
Bogut went down in his very first game in a Cavs uniform. Tremendously unfortunate. Fractured tibia. Heal fast, Bogut!!
Gah! The Spurs will not lose! Another crazy ending for them tonight, resulting in another win.
See you Wednesday night, Dub Nation: