The season-high four-game losing streak ends with a bang. Birthday boy Stephen Curry led the way with 32 points and nine assists, while Andrew Wiggins dropped 28 helping the Golden State Warriors to a 131-119 over the NBA-leading Utah Jazz.
This was one of the best performances of the season for the Dubs, who needed a win against an upper-echelon squad after their recent struggles. It wasn’t easy though.
Utah was down nine going into the final quarter but went on a 12-4 run to cut the deficit to one with 8:43 remaining. Fortunately, Golden State didn’t wilt under the pressure.
Curry, who turned 33 on Sunday, and Wiggins combined for 19 points in the fourth quarter and connected for this 3-ball that extended the lead to 11 and put the game out of reach.
Draymond Green was incredibly efficient as well, finishing with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists.
“Very gratifying win, I just liked our intensity defensively from the start to the finish,” head coach Steve Kerr said following the win. “That’s a great team, they’re tough to guard, and I thought we stayed with it.”
As good as Steph, Wiggins and Dray were, the bench guys had a lot to do with the win as well.
Recent G League call-up Jordan Poole looked confident, dropping 18 points, while rookie James Wiseman chipped in with 16 points in 23 points, helping the Warriors keep the Jazz at Bay.
The second-unit has been maligned for its effort on several occasions, but Kerr made some necessary changes. Poole and rookie Nico Mannion have taken over the minutes from Brad Wanamaker, Damion Lee and Mychal Mulder and it looks like the move paid off, at least for the short-term.
“I thought all three guys were great. We’re kind of throwing them into the deep end a little bit,” Kerr said. “We really like the way they play together, they fit well together … Jordan (Poole) and Nico (Mannion) have really developed a good synergy over the course of the season.”
Curry looked like a man possessed during his first quarter. He scored 14 points during the Dubs’ 16-5 run that gave Golden State a 22-11 lead eight minutes into the game.
The Warriors looked much more engaged defensively than they have the previous two games. They held Utah to just 40 percent shooting and led 33-22 after one.
It was also a promising start to the second quarter for the bench players. After struggling to score against the L.A. Clippers, the second unit did a much better job of attacking offensively and kept the lead at eight before Curry and Draymond Green returned to the court.
Golden State finished off half the way it started. The Dubs were engaged defensively and continue to be aggressive on the offensive end, leading to a 67-54 lead at the break.
The Warriors carried over their momentum for the third quarter and kept the Western Conference leaders at arms-length. Wiggins and rookie James Wiseman helped alleviate some of the scoring pressure off of Curry as Golden State took a 95-86 lead into the final 12 minutes.
Beating the best team in the NBA is a huge confidence boost for the young Dubs squad. They know they can compete with the best teams in the league but they have to start doing it on a consistent basis if they want to climb up the Western Conference standings.
It won’t get any easier for the Warriors. They will host LeBron James and defending champion Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.
What are your main takeaways from the win?