How did that happen?
When word came out that Draymond Green was out with a sore ankle, the feeling was that Stephen Curry had to score at least 40 for the Golden State Warriors to win.
Instead, the two-time MVP had one of his worst shooting performances of the season, but the Dubs still managed to beat the Miami Heat 120-112 in overtime.
“It was just a great, great win. Guys played so hard really the whole night,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “I felt like we played hard the first half we just couldn’t get a shot to drop, it felt like a game we could still win.”
Even though he struggled, Curry made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:15 left in the extra period. He followed that up with the dagger with 15.9 seconds left in the game.
The Heat made life tough on Curry, who finished the game with 25 points on eight-of-25 shooting, including five-for-20 from deep. But the rest of the Warriors stepped up with their leader struggling,
Kent Bazemore was flat-out awesome in the win. The veteran was all over the court and helped the Warriors stay in the game when it looked like they were on life support. Bazemore finished the game with a season-high 26 points and added eight rebounds. Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. also did their part, chipping with 23 points apiece.
“Just a great comeback. Baze was fantastic, as was Eric (Paschall). The Jayhawks were great tonight, Kelly (Oubre) and Andrew (Wiggins) both had big nights, hit big shots,” Kerr said. “The last few minutes of the fourth we were just scrambling out there. I thought Baze really led the charge, he really made some huge plays for us, kept us in it … really an amazing team win, and a lot of fun.”
It felt like the Dubs were trailing by 15 points for most of the game, but they managed to hang around. Miami led 99-85 with 6:40 remaining but Golden State never quit, going on a 20-6 run to send the game into overtime.
With James Wiseman and Kevon Looney still recovering from injury, losing Green for a game against a team with Bam Adebayo felt like it was going to be a death blow. The All-Star center had 24 points, five rebounds and seven assists, while Kendrick Nunn chipped in with 19 in the loss.
This is the type of win that can help a team ignite a winning streak. The Warriors looked like they were playing catchup for the entire 48 minutes and still managed to get a win, despite missing their second best player.
The Dubs had a good start to the game, with the score tied at 14-14 seven minutes into the opening quarter. But the Heat took over at the end of the first, outscoring Golden State 22-10 the rest of the way.
It didn’t help that Curry struggled early on. Without Green, Miami focused on denying Steph the ball and held him to just two-of-eight shooting in the quarter.
With Curry on the bench, the second unit tried to keep pace with a deep Heat team but ultimately failed in doing so.
Adebayo, Nunn and Jimmy Butler began elevating their play, and the shorthanded Warriors couldn’t slow them down. Miami dominated the undersized Dubs squad, outscoring them 28-18 in the paint during the opening half and took a 61-46 lead into the break.
It wasn’t only the defense that broke down in the first half. Golden State continually missed open looks, shooting just 41 percent from the field and six-of-24 from the beyond the arc.
But Kerr tried rallying the troops during halftime. Led by Curry, the Warriors came out to begin the third. Steph scored seven points over the opening four minutes of the half and helped the Dubs cut the deficit to 64-59.
The Heat slowed things down and began to use their size advantage to try and control the block. Adebayo, Butler and Kelly Olynyk were given multiple post-up opportunities, which helped keep Golden State at bay.
Anytime it looked like the Dubs would get within five, Miami responded with a bucket. With Curry having an off-night, the Heat took a 86-76 lead in the fourth, which is where Golden State made its furious comeback.
The bonus good news is that reinforcements are on their way. Green’s injury isn’t believed to be serious, and Wiseman and Looney should return during the Warriors’ upcoming four-game East Coast road trip.
What a thrilling way to cap off their stint at the Chase Center. The Warriors went 3-1 during their four-game homestand and are now three games over .500 for the first time all season.
How are you feeling after the win?