With Stephen Curry’s record chase behind him, the Golden State Warriors continued their fantastic start to the season with a 111-107 win in Boston against the Celtics.
Curry led an explosive 14-3 start for the Dubs. After seeing his scoring efficiency plummet as he approached the NBA’s all-time three-point record, Curry quickly looked like he was back at the top of his game. He scored 16 points in the first quarter alone on 5-for-7 shooting from the field (3-for-5 from three).
With the Warriors’ offense flowing around Curry’s spark early, things seemed to be finally letting up. However, while Curry finished with a game-high 30 points, he was 3-for-14 from the field and 2-for-9 from three in the rest of regulation. Although seeing Steph find any extended hot streak was a flash of a return to normalcy for the greatest shooter in NBA history, Friday’s game was the fifth straight game where Curry has failed to shoot at least 40% from three.
With Jordan Poole out as he entered the NBA’s COVID-19 health & safety protocols, the stage was set for Andrew Wiggins to pick up the slack. As has been the case quite a bit over the past few weeks, he did. Wiggins scored 18 points in the second quarter and continued his scorching streak of shooting, making 5 of his 7 three-point attempts throughout the game. Over his past 19 games, Wiggins is averaging over 20 points per game while shooting 54.8% from two and 46.6% from three. Perhaps Wiggins will regress soon, but with Curry in one of the biggest shooting slumps of his career, Wiggins has been the Dubs most efficient scorer over the past month.
Despite Golden State’s impressive first half, the Celtics began making things interesting in the third quarter. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 19 third-quarter points while no Warrior player made more than one field goal in the quarter. Boston outscored the Dubs 27-14 in the quarter but left even more points on the board.
The Celtics made just 5 of 11 free throws in the third and shot just 69% from the line on 29 attempts throughout the game. The Warriors were frustrated by the referees, and a generally quick whistle consistently put Boston at the line and Golden State’s best players in foul trouble. Curry fouled out with 10 seconds remaining, while Wiggins (4) and Draymond Green (5) each dealt with foul trouble of their own.
The Dubs lead was cut to one heading into the fourth quarter, and their starters continued to be held in check. Curry and Green were the only Warriors starters who scored in the final quarter and combined for just 7 points. However, several bench players, including a well-rested Andre Iguodala, rose to the occasion, scoring 22 fourth-quarter points.
Iguodala was huge on both sides of the ball, recording two steals and blocks alongside 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists. Joe Viray already broke down Iguodala’s exceptional performance and showed how he has given head coach Steve Kerr added flexibility with his rotation. He was one of Golden State’s most important players on Friday.
The Warriors looked like they were getting their offensive swagger back, but as the game wore on, their recent slump returned. Still, their consistent defensive effort enabled them to hold on. They flew to Toronto Friday night and will take on the Raptors in another back-to-back on Saturday at 4:30 PM Pacific Standard Time.