When you beat the defending champs, you want to come out with another strong effort in the game that follows.
The Golden State Warriors did just that in a 121-99 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Led by Stephen Curry and rookie James Wiseman, the Dubs built off their 19-point comeback win over the Los Angeles Lakers and never trailed against the Spurs.
As has been the case in most of the wins this season, Curry paced the Dubs with 26 points, 11 boards and seven dimes, while Wiseman had his best outing as a pro, going for 20 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Here are three takeaways from Golden State’s win:
The starters came out hot, and the Dubs never really looked back
This was the best first quarter the Warriors have played all season. They were red-hot on the offensive end, shooting 64% from the field and connecting on four-of-five 3-point attempts. Head coach Steve Kerr said that his team would be a work in progress before the season, and we are starting to see the improvements.
The Warriors are getting used to playing with each other on the offensive end and countering the opposition’s defensive scheme, which is usually focused on slowing down Curry.
Kerr called a few sets that saw Steph and Kelly Oubre Jr. run some pick-and-roll, something we haven’t even seen too much of through 14 games.
Allowing Oubre to read-and-react to the defense will enable him to be a bit freer on the perimeter.
Golden State was also dominant on the defensive end. The Dubs held San Antonio to 24 first quarter points on 41% shooting. The starters were engaged from the opening tip. Their rotations and closeouts caused the Spurs to be off-balance on the offensive end and helped the Warriors take a 36-24 lead after the opening 12 minutes.
Wiseman bounces back after rough stretch
The rookie struggled with fouls and positioning over the previous three games, where he scored a combined 30 points. Wiseman corrected both of those issues in a big way against San Antonio.
Wiseman looked much better on the offensive end because of his positioning. Instead of leaking towards the perimeter when a teammate began attacking the rim or stepping out for open jumpers, he stayed close to the paint. This allowed Wiseman to be the recipient of several easy lobs that resulted in dunks.
James Wiseman— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 21, 2021
He also had an excellent play during the second quarter when he sealed the smaller defender under the hoop, and Draymond Green found him for a lay-in.
Overall, Wiseman is on track with his development. He has proven he can hit jumpers from a distance if need be, but correcting his positioning and decision-making as a center will go a long way in helping him become more of a focal point on offense.
The bench needs to find some consistency
Curry and the starters can’t carry the team to victory each night. With a condensed schedule, the Dubs will need their bench players to provide offense more regularly.
The bench combined for just 20 points in the loss to the Denver Nuggets, then had 37 in the win over the Lakers. The unit put up 32 points — most of which came with the game out of hand in the fourth quarter — in the blowout win over San Antonio, but Golden State didn’t need much, with the starters accounting for 73.6% of the scoring.
Kerr still needs to find the right combination for the opening six minutes of the second quarter, when Curry gets some rest. The Warriors led by 12 after the first, but the bench was outscored 12-7 during the time Steph was on the bench, which cut the lead to seven.
Kerr will continue to tinker with the lineups until he can find some consistency from the bench guys.
Overall, Golden State is continuing to come together. The Dubs are 8-4 since losing their first two games of the season. If we see them play defense the way they did against San Antonio, they will rack up plenty more victories going forward.
Next up: The Warriors host the New York Knicks on Thursday.