The Golden State Warriors beat the Orlando Magic 111-105 on Thursday night, in what can only be described as an odd game.
The Dubs should have comfortably beaten an undermanned Magic squad, yet it took another superstar performance from Steph Curry for them to overcome a large halftime deficit.
Let’s see how they did with their keys to victory.
The key: Play clean, smart basketball, with good decisions.
The outcome: F- for the first half, A+ for the second half.
The Warriors made some poor decisions early, often settling for jumpers instead of attacking. They shot just 12 free throws all night, and turned the ball over 17 times.
Ultimately, they won because they had more talent and we’re willing to bite down on their mouthpieces. There’s a lot of value in that, so I don’t mean it as an insult. But it wasn’t clean, smart basketball that got the job done.
Grading the key: 3.5 out of 10.
Cut to the chase
The key: Don’t play with their food too much before eating it.
The outcome: Welp.
The Warriors jumped out to a big lead early, and led by double digits after the first quarter. It looked like they were going to ace this key and ride into the sunset with a blowout.
And then they got doubled-up in the second quarter, 36-18. It was ugly, and it was definitely a case of playing with their food a little bit, as the decisions got sloppy and the shots came quick.
Grading the key: 3 out of 10.
The key: Be competitive on the glass.
The outcome: Despite not having a traditional center like Orlando, the Warriors were only outrebounded by three boards, 49-46.
It was a total team effort, as they collaborated on the glass, and the starting backcourt of Steph Curry and Kelly Oubre Jr. ripped down 18 rebounds.
Grading the key: 8 out of 10.
The key: Be smart on defense.
The outcome: It was a pretty defensively sound game for the Dubs. There were a few times where they gambled a little bit too much, but they limited their fouls, forced a fair number of turnovers, and generally pushed the Magic into taking not great shots. It was a solid performance.
Grading the key: 7 out of 10.
Good enough for a win is good enough for me.