Two games where the Golden State Warriors strung together quality wins.
Fresh off of the momentum of their 115-105 victory over the Blazers in Portland, the Warriors rolled into Talking Stick Resort Arena last night and closed out 2018 with a 132-109 beatdown of the Phoenix Suns.
The Warriors’ margin of victory is noteworthy only because this was the second win by 20 or more points in the last 17 games, and the seventh on the entire season.
Back to Ball Moving Basics
The Warriors ended the game with 31 assists. Part of the reason was the Suns defense didn’t overplay the passing lanes, and another part is that the Warriors countered the “Forget About Dray” defense by putting Green in the post and letting him pass. The Warriors also countered by using Green effectively as a screener.
In addition to timely cuts and finishes in the paint, the Warriors also had their way with the Suns in transition- outscoring Phoenix 21-12.
For The Dubs, the Bell Tolled
Jordan Bell’s had a tough sophomore season with more lows than highs. On Monday, Bell reminded not only the Warriors’ coaching staff but himself of what he’s capable of.
Subbing for a foul-riddled Kevon Looney midway through the second quarter, Bell swiped the ball from Suns’ guard Devin Booker, saved the ball from going out of bounds and finding a streaking Kevin Durant in transition for an easy dunk.
Moments later, Bell was at it again with his second block and another fast break opportunity.
Bell also picked and chose his spots for scoring opportunities and ended up with a line of 10 points on 5 of 5 shooting to go along with his six rebounds and three blocks.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr had high praise for Bell’s performance after the game.
“Yeah, this is how we want Jordan to play,” Kerr told the Athletic’s Anthony Slater. “With great pace, energy, anticipation, being early on rotations defensively blocking shots. Then running the floor”
Benchmob Strikes Again
In addition to Bell’s 10 points, Shaun Livingston chipped in with 10 of his own, followed by Quinn Cook’s 8 and Jonas Jerebko’s 7. The Warriors’ bench ended up outscoring Phoenix’s bench 46-27. For most of the year, the Warriors struggled to get scoring from their second unit. The unit struggled to the point where Kerr substituted Klay Thompson for Stephen Curry to lead the unit. Eight games in, and the the second unit’s sported a positive plus/minues since. The bench benefited immensely while playing with Curry. The attention that he draws from the defense helped get Livingston, Bell, et al easy finishes-which also helped them in tying the Suns with 50 points in the paint.