Even without Stephen Curry on the floor, the Golden State Warriors are still an extremely dangerous team.
Just having Draymond Green and Kevin Durant out there — along with Klay Thompson’s shooting — should be enough to beat most teams in the NBA on any given night. It certainly proved to be too much for the Phoenix Suns tonight. Coach Steve Kerr’s system may not always work out, but when it does, it’s a beautiful machine that inspires awe.
Even for those of us blog boys who watch every game, with how banged up the team has been all season, it’s all too easy to forget how dominant this team is — even at less than full strength. And the reminder came at a good time too — with the playoffs looming over a roster that it still badly impacted by injuries, it’s comforting to see a patented thrid quarter whooping.
Behind Draymond Green’s and Kevin Durant’s matching double-doubles, the Warriors were able to turn on their offense and defense in the second half and it was just waaaaaay too much for the depleted Suns team to handle on this Easter Sunday.
The Starters were extremely efficient:
- Durant had a monster night: 29 points (on 19 field goal attempts), 11 rebounds, and eight assists;
- Draymond almost messed around and got a triple double too, 13 points, 11 assists, and six rebounds;
- Klay Thompson put up 23 in his second game back, including a couple of back breaking threes during the big run in the 2nd and 3rd quarters;
- Quinn Cook put up 19 points on just 11 shot attempts.
First half struggles
It was a weird first half, with the Golden State Warriors falling behind the Phoenix Suns by as many as 14 points before storming back in the second quarter to go into halftime with the game essentially tied.
The Warriors were down one, but this one felt like it was about to turn at halftime. Just looking at the stats from the first half, it was looking a lot like the Warriors machine was finding it’s gear.
At the half, the Warriors led fastbreak points 12-4, and were shooting the lights out (6-for-13 from deep).
One interesting thought: Draymond Green has been given the greenest light he’s had since Luke Walton was coaching - it’s equal parts hysterical and awe-inspiring. Check out this Curry-esque three:
Draymond from waaaaaaaaaaaay downtown pic.twitter.com/zMMUmNx1kp— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 2, 2018
Another interesting wrinkle for tonight: Jordan Bell didn’t get the start (which went to Kevon Looney), but he looked good in the first half. No matter how this season ends up, Bell continues to be one of the brighter, more interesting developments on the team this season.
Jordan Bell a well-earned +9 in 10 first half minutes. Burst energy. Six rebounds. Hit a jumper. Flying around. Closed the half with decisive catch, drive, dunk on a slip.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 2, 2018
Second Half: The Warriors rolled the bolder off and resurrected themselves
After losing the first quarter by two, and ending the second quarter down two, the Warriors laid a classic third quarter beatdown on the Suns. Midway through the third, the game was still in a dead heat. With the score at 71-69 and trailing by two, the Warriors turned on the afterburners. A weird carom sent the ball into Quinn Cook’s hand and he busted clear for a fast break. Then Draymond ran with Durant off a missed basket and got another layup. And next, Quinn Cook stole a pass so fast the camera couldn’t even keep up, hit a three and put the Warriors up 69-77.
In less than a minute of game time they had begun to blow the game open.
Warriors deliver a 36-18 third quarter mashing of the Suns. Up 17. Draymond Green energized, Quinn Cook (7/9 FG, 17 pts) playing well again, GSW doing what they should to terrible Phoenix.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 2, 2018
The Suns managed to stay reasonably competitive for the rest of the game, but it was firmly within the Warriors control after they took that 17-point lead into the fourth. For every made Suns bucket, the Warriors were there to respond and keep a hold of their safety margin: a Quinn Cook bucket here, Draymond Green doing work on both offense and defense, even Shaun Livingston got in on the act:
Up next: Only five more games!!!
The Warriors have Monday off before facing a very tough Oklahoma Thunder team early Tuesday evening.
Just a handful of games left in the regular season, and just one of those at home. Keep an eye on those games against the Jazz and Thunder, two potential playoff matchups for the Warriors:
Warriors play 4 of final 5 games on the road— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 2, 2018
The Thunder and Jazz games will be interesting. Possible GSW can choose to rest guys if it makes sense to manipulate 7th seed below them.
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