Well, well, well. That sure was a lot of fun. The Golden State Warriors overcame numerous double-digit deficits, and what looked like a surefire blowout loss, to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 115-113, and once again earn a winning record.
It was a surprising, spirited, and inspiring win. But how did they do with their pregame keys to victory? There’s only one way to find out ...
Keep the stars at bay
The key: Keep LeBron James and Anthony Davis from having monster nights.
The outcome: James and Davis both got theirs, as you expect from MVP candidates. But they didn’t have the monster nights that both players regularly put up.
James had 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Davis had a slightly more jaw-dropping line, with 17 points, 17 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 blocks. But each player shot just 6-for-16 from the field, and they combined to go 2-for-8 from distance and 10-for-15 from the free throw line.
It’s a testament to both players — who have a combined 23 All-Star appearances — that those stat lines qualify as not being a monster night, but it was indeed a key to victory.
Grading the key: 7.5 out of 10.
Bombs away, Steph
The key: Steph Curry needs to take at least 20 shots, preferably a bit more.
The outcome: These objective ones are so easy! Curry indeed eclipsed the 20 shot mark, settling on 22 field goal attempts, in addition to seven free throws.
It wasn’t a very efficient scoring night for Curry, and it bodes well for the Warriors that they can beat the best team in the NBA, on the road, when Curry shoots 8-for-22 (including 3-for-12 from deep). But Curry shooting, even when he’s not making them, opens up the offense tremendously, and that was the case on Monday.
Grading the key: 9 out of 10.
Dray’s energy on D
The key: Draymond Green needs to bring more defensive energy than in Denver.
The outcome: Green probably gets a pretty bad grade here if we had turned the game off at halftime. But thankfully we’re not doing that.
It was a spirited second half defensive effort from the entire team, and Green is always at the center of that. His defense was a large reason why the Warriors didn’t let Davis or James explode.
Grading the key: 7 out of 10.
The key: The Warriors need at least two strong performances off the bench.
The outcome: As has often been the case this season, Eric Paschall thrived off the bench, with 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists, while shooting 8-for-11 from the field.
He was the only bench player who stood out statistically, but certainly not the only bench player who left their fingerprints on the game, as both Brad Wanamaker and Kevon Looney were sensational in their minutes.
Grading the key: 8 out of 10.
That all worked out nicely, didn’t it?