The Warriors broke out of their slump, alleviating the pain of perhaps the most entitled fanbase in the modern era. That “brutal” four-game losing streak was the worst stretch of Warriors basketball since Steve Kerr took over for coach Mark Jackson. Let that sink in for a minute: four losses in a row is as bad as it’s been here in years. We are blessedly spoiled around here.
Be thankful that the transgressions have been corrected - the Warriors have found their winning footing once again, and will set out to navigate the turbulent NBA landscape right away as they take on the Sacramento Kings in the second game of our back-to-back.
WHO: Warriors vs. Kings
WHEN: Saturday, November 24; 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Oracle Arena - Oakland, CA
RADIO: 95.7 The Game
Blog Buddy: Sactown Royalty
As preordained, the Warriors are figuring it out
In this season of thankfulness, I find myself thinking a lot about how bad this team has been for most of my life. Now? Even in the midst of our deepest losing streak of the Kerr era, we all knew this was going to work itself out, right?
Some of it was the solid bench performance last night (most notably Quinn Cook’s nineteen points) but Golden State wouldn’t have broken out of their chrysalis without their biggest guns firing. Kevin Durant poured in one of his most complete games of the season, a 32 point, 8 rebound, 7 assist, 2 steal, and 3 block clinic. Klay Thompson did more than just score, too: 31 points (including four of nine three pointers), 8 rebounds, 2 steals, a block and an assist.
If the top of our roster is playing like that, it’s going to be hard for Sacramento to limit our offense - plus, the Kings don’t have an especially strong defense (ranked 20th in the league by basketballreference.com).
Speaking of figuring stuff out - can we get some more Jordan Bell, please?
As they are wont to do, the Warriors seem determined to find a place in their starting rotation for a big-bodied Center who may not actually be the objectively best option. Damien Jones has grabbed the lion’s share of minutes, which has bumped Jordan Bell down to second, or even third option (behind Kevon Looney).
On Friday night against the Portland Trail Blazers though, Bell was much needed energetic addition - ending up with a very Draymond-like line of five points, seven assists, five rebounds, and two steals, and two blocks.
One of those steals was a linchpin moment, sending an already hot team into a 22-3 frenzy of a second-quarter run. Here it is, via Anthony Slater’s recap:
As Slater goes on to point out, if Jones continues to struggle against big centers it pretty much removes him from the rotation - good for Bell, and perhaps, good for the Warriors in general. While the Warriors will always find a place for a rim-running vertical spacer like Jones, the combination of Bell and Looney may actually just work better overall.
Interestingly, Looney has migrated into a big man role this season - so far, he’s logged 80% of his total minutes at Center, up from 51% last season.
The Kings are young, fast, and (dare I say) kind of fun!
The Sacramento Kings have become synonymous with bad basketball over the past decade or so. Worse, they weren’t just bad, they were hard to watch. Gone now are the plodding teams with eight power forwards on the roster - in their place: a young, quick team that has the potential to maybe develop into a playoff team.
In fact, at 10-8, the Kings sit in the 8th spot in a crowded Western Conference. They’ve gotten there while running the NBA’s second-fastest offense, and the fourth-most efficient. Their offense is really their strength - a balanced attack with six players averaging double digits per game. None of these names really jump off the screen and scream “All Star!” but there’s enough young talent here to capitalize on any cracks in the Warriors’ armor.
Even without Curry and Green, the Warriors are still a significantly better team on paper. Now that they’ve found their groove again (hopefully), this is a game they should win.
No scores in my prediction: I just want everyone to have fun out there.