For the Golden State Warriors, the regular season finale at Oracle couldn’t have gone any other way.
The squad breaking out the throwback “We Believe” era jerseys. The energy bouncing off of every pillar and beam in the 52-year-old marvel with endless chants of “Warrrrrioorrrrrs, Warrrrriors,” with dashes of “MVP” chants for Stephen Curry. Speaking of Curry, it was also fitting that his final regular season shot at Oracle was a deep three.
Even more fitting, the Warriors clinched the number one seed in the West with a thorough 131-104 demolition of the Los Angeles Clippers. Curry lead all scorers with 27, Kevin Durant chipped in with 16 while Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins combined for 24 points. Here’s three observations from tonight.
Defense to offense in the third
The Warriors nursed a seven point lead at halftime, allowing 55 points to a pesky and desperate Clippers squad. The Dubs let Landry Shamet torch them from three, and that was all the motivation that they needed to come out of the locker room with the clamps. Draymond Green and his 7’3” wingspan lead the change with three steals. The Dubs eventually forced six Clipper turnovers and scored 27 points off of turnovers for the entire game.
The Warriors held the Clippers to 18 points while scoring a scorching 42 points on the other end to virtually put the game away. The third quarter performance of this game couldn’t have came at a better time. The intensity and focus on both ends of the ball was overwhelming, and if they can sustain it for 16 more games, it’s a wrap and Lake Merritt will be treated to one more party.
In the first quarter, it looked as if the Warriors were going to play a sloppy game. They committed three turnovers in the first quarter alone. Turnovers have been a chronic problem during this run, and they usually come to the surface when the game is becoming out of reach or when the Warriors get a little too pass happy or when they even condescend and play down to their opponent. It seemed that way in the first, but they committed no turnovers in the fourth and only four turnovers in a 32 minute bulk of the game. With 34 assists, the ball movement was there, but the difference was that the Dubs were more conservative with the passes. None of their passes tonight seemed to be empty or without purpose.
The bench mob
For most of the season, the Warriors’ second unit has been maligned for not producing enough offense to sustain a lead or pull the team in the game when they trail. The Warriors’ bench didn’t have any of those problems whatssoever tonight. Quinn Cook once again played phenomenally well on offense. He finished the night with ten points off the bench while Kevon Looney scored 14.
During the past six games, Cook’s been shooting 33 of 48 from the field. He’s shooting with confidence and can create his own space to get a shot off. Looney continues to impress with his rebounding and presence on the block.
Andrew Bogut continues to pick up where he left off during his first run in Golden State; he delivered some timely screens and made the most of his minutes.
The bench has it in them to hold the core down. Right now, as the rotations shorten, it will be interesting to see who gets the most minutes from this unit.
Next up, the Warriors will head to Memphis to play the Grizzlies on Tuesday.