We got a glimpse of how good the Golden State Warriors can be when their big guns are rolling.
Stephen Curry, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Andre Wiggins combined for 70 points as the Dubs closed out the preseason with a 113-109 win over the Sacramento Kings. Curry went six-of-13 from the beyond the arc, finishing with 29 points to lead all scorers.
Oubre had 22, while Wiggins chipped in with 19 to help Golden State complete the preseason with a 2-1 record.
The Dubs only had a three-point lead at the half, but Curry and Oubre combined to score 12 straight points to start the third to put Golden State up by 13, and it never looked back.
Here are four things that stood out from the Warriors victory:
There’s no need to worry about Steph
Curry has only seen action in five games over the previous 18 months, but you wouldn’t be able to tell based on his last two games. Steph made only two of his first 10 shots but connected on seven out of his final 13 attempts to lead the Warriors. Curry is getting more space to operate on the offensive end, with Kerr’s system opening up more room for him to cut and maneuver on the outside. He’s in great shape and will be among the top five players in the league throughout the season.
16 in the quarter. 29 on the night.— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 18, 2020
Steph is in the zone. ☔️ pic.twitter.com/fFOItMFsaG
Wiggins has his best game of the preseason
The No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft came out to play. Wiggins went hit all five of his field-goal attempts in the first quarter and had 11 points in the opening seven minutes. He was decisive with his outside shooting, hitting three-of-seven 3-pointers. The Canadian will play a big part in how successful Golden State is this season. If he can consistently be as active as he was on both ends of the floor in this game, it will go a long way in helping the Dubs get into the postseason.
stepback oh so smooth pic.twitter.com/pHPqbweGpB— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 18, 2020
Steve Kerr: "It was good to have Andrew aggressive ... we need him to score"— Golden State of Mind (@unstoppablebaby) December 18, 2020
We get a glimpse of head coach Steve Kerr’s rotation when Curry is resting
The Warriors were once again without Draymond Green and rookie James Wiseman for this game, and we know both will play a ton of minutes this season. But, we caught a glimpse of how much Golden State struggled to score when Curry was on the bench in the first game against the Kings.
Kerr played Steph for the entire first quarter, which is something that isn’t new. Steph sat out the first seven minutes of the second quarter, but we got to see how he will stagger the lineup when the two-time MVP is on the bench.
Oubre checked out of the game with a little more than four minutes to go in the first quarter and subbed back in around the same time as Curry. I expect that to change once the season begins on Tuesday. Wiggins started the second quarter with the bench guys, so it looks like Kerr prefers to have him on the floor when Steph gets his break after the opening 12 minutes.
Protecting the paint
Despite the win, the Warriors were outscored 52-28 in the paint. The rim-protection will undoubtedly improve when Green and Wiseman are on the floor, but there are still some concerns. Golden State’s perimeter defenders have to do a better job on the second rotation. Sacramento’s big men got some easy buckets when his man would move into help defense to cutoff a Kings’ drive to the basket. De’Aaron Fox was able to find his bigs for easy lay-ins or plays that resulted in free throws.
The Warriors’ wings will have to move down to take away that pass and leave their men open beyond the arc. The Denver Nuggets outscored the Dubs 58-36 in the preseason opener as well.
It’s only preseason, and Kerr won’t be playing as many guys once the games begin to count, but that is something to keep an eye on as the season progress.
On to the regular season. Golden State plays its first real game on Tuesday when the Warriors take on Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets. The good news is that Green and Wiseman should be good to go, meaning we will see what team looks like with its entire roster available.