Like a family of weary travellers staggering home after a long journey, the Golden State Warriors are limping into the playoffs.
We’ve already had the equivalent of Dad turning round to the kids bleating ‘are we nearly there yet’ in the back of the car and shouting ‘if you don’t shut up I’ll turn this car right around!’.
All that’s left is to finally pull into the driveway and lug the suitcases over the front porch.
But before that we get to the long awaited end of the regular season, we got treated to what was little more than a glorified scrimmage against a tanking Suns team destined for a nice lottery pick.
There’s not much to take from this one, but let’s have a rummage and see if there are any decent souvenirs tucked away at the bottom of the suitcase.
Klay Thompson woke up
On the Phoenix Suns broadcast, former sharp shooter turned colour commentator Eddie Johnson kicked off the evening by listing ‘Limit Klay’ as one of his keys to the game.
So much for that — Klay Thompson has officially awoken from his slumber.
He’s been quieter since coming back from injury and noticeably has not been picking up the slack in Curry’s absence. The offense has changed a bit obviously, and he’s not working as well in a more iso-based system with Kevin Durant dominating the ball.
Last night, it was different story though. Thompson torched the Suns for 34 points on 14-for-23 shooting, including 22 points in the first quarter in a vintage Thompson explosion. He also put the finishing touches on the game, nailing a couple of threes after the Suns managed to pull a bit closer during a particularly soporific second half.
That just about finished off a game that the Suns were quite happy not to win.
He now just needs 22 points in the final game of the season to finish above 20 ppg for the fourth straight year. So just more quarters like that please, Klay...
All in all, it was a useful night for Thompson to rediscover his stroke, and for the Warriors to work out how to spread the offense around a bit after finding themselves playing a bit too much iso-ball in recent weeks.
Draymond Green looked aggressive
A lot of Warriors fans, myself included, are fretting about whether or not the Warriors have a switch they can flip for the playoffs. The last few games have all been about trying to get some rhythm with the players left standing.
That’s why the Pelicans loss was perturbing. Against one of the easier potential first round matchups, the Warriors gave up 126 points at home. The disturbing thought lurking at the back of the mind is ‘what if there isn’t a switch?’
Well, if there is a switch, it’s name is probably Draymond Green. The Warriors are a different team when he’s fully dialed in, particularly on the defensive end. There’s not much you can take from a meaningless game at the end of the season against a team that might struggle to beat the 2000 Warriors, but Green did look pretty aggressive.
He led a second quarter charge from the second unit to cement the Warriors lead after Thompson’s heroics had pretty much put the game beyond reach. He was out there firing up the troops, flying around, and generally being a menace. He finished with 14 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block. Another welcome sign with the playoffs just round the corner.
Some feisty kids in the back of the car
Another interesting wrinkle on that second unit was the presence of one Quinn Cook. Last year, the Warriors used Ian Clark instead of Shaun Livingston on that unit in the playoffs and it made better use of both players.
Can Cook fill the same role this year once Steph Curry returns? We’ll see, but he did bust out a nice little spin move on his way to 14 points, six rebounds and three assists.
The other kid, Kevon Looney, had another reliably solid game and made some nice plays, including finishing with four blocks to go along with his six points and six rebounds. The combination of these two really augments the veterans around them, and they look ready for the test to come.
Livingston looked spry
After a night off to rest his ageing knees, Shaun Livingston returned and looked a lot spryer than he has for a while. He finished with 10 points on 4-8 shooting and a nice dunk in the run-in to keep the Suns half hearted attempts at bay.
And that was it really. All it needed was one big Klay Thompson quarter, a solid outing from the second unit to cement the lead, and some decent execution down the stretch for win number 58.
The Warriors will miss out on four straight 60 win seasons, but what really matters is the 16 wins they need to get starting this weekend.
One more heave and this long season is done.
Who was your Warrior Wonder against the Suns?
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Is it time to wake up yet?