Like clockwork, Steph Curry put on a show on Monday night, this time dropping 49 points, and making at least 10 threes for the fourth time in the last five games.
It helped the Golden State Warriors secure an impressive 107-96 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, who just might be the top team in the East. Sure, the Sixers were without Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris, but a double-digit win over such a good team, when it’s your fourth straight road game, is impressive nonetheless, and yet another sign of the Dubs finally starting to put some pieces together.
But how did they do with their pregame keys to victory from my preview? Let’s revisit and find out.
The key: Don’t get stagnant or isolation heavy against Philly’s elite defense.
The outcome: Despite the offensive explosion from Curry, the Warriors actually didn’t have a great night on offense statistically. Their offensive rating in the game (109.7) was lower than their season rate (110.2), which is one of the 10 worst offenses in the league.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story, because the Sixers have one of the league’s truly elite defenses — and that’s true even when Simmons, a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, is out. Being able to essentially match their season average in offensive efficiency against a great defense on the road is a sign that the offense is making strides.
Some of those strides came from avoiding stagnancy, though you wouldn’t really know it from the box score — the Warriors had only 15 assists all night long, which is astoundingly far below their season average of 27.2. There were still good signs though, and they mostly avoided isolations except for when Curry had the ball in his hands. And those are exactly the type of isolations that you do want to lean on.
Considering the strength of Philly’s defense, it’s safe to say the Dubs’ offense would not have had that much success had their players not stayed busy, active, and in motion.
Grading the key: 6 out of 10.
The key: Take a lot of threes — starters and bench players.
The outcome: The Warriors attempted 32 threes, with more than half of those (17) coming from Curry. The bench didn’t really provide much on that front, as they attempted just eight shots from distance.
That mark was well below the Dubs’ season average, though they made up for it by cashing in at a 43.8% clip.
Grading the key: 5.5 out of 10.
The key: Survive on the glass.
The outcome: It might not have been extremely apparent at the time, but this is one of the main reasons the Warriors won the game. Against a team starting Joel Embiid and Mike Scott, with Dwight Howard coming off the bench, it was safe to assume the Warriors would get cleanly beat on the glass with their undersized lineup.
They didn’t. In fact, they won the rebounding battle, securing 45 boards to Philly’s 42. A decent part of this was because Golden State played such good defense, and therefore had more defensive rebounds to gather, but still: at the very least, they were highly competitive on the glass.
It was a team effort, and everyone deserves credit for fighting and scrapping for rebounds. Even the players that didn’t grab a lot of rebounds were frequently putting bodies on Sixers players so that their teammates could grab them.
Special credit goes to Kevon Looney, who was up for the task of going against Embiid, and ended with a career-high 15 rebounds. Andrew Wiggins did a tremendous job crashing the glass from the perimeter, and secured 10 boards.
Grading the key: 9.5 out of 10.
Turns out I probably should have included “Steph Curry keep playing some of the best basketball you will ever see in your life” on this list.