The Golden State Warriors capped off their most impressive two-game stretch of the season on Tuesday night, beating the Phoenix Suns 122-116. It gave the Dubs wins over the two teams with the best records in the NBA, all in a span of about 27 hours.
A win over the Suns is huge, regardless of how the Warriors did it, but a win over the Suns when Steph Curry is struggling is doubly impressive. But did the Warriors hit on their pregame keys to victory? Let’s revisit my preview and find out.
The key: Have energy from Monday’s encouraging win, rather than lethargy from the back-to-back.
The outcome: There were signs in the first quarter that the Warriors had played the night before and the Suns hadn’t. But those signs were primarily that the Warriors were missing open shots, which tends to happen when your legs get tired, as the Houston Rockets will surely attest to.
Even with the missed baskets, the Warriors kept their foot on the energy pedal. The frustration of missing shots bled out into the defensive effort a little bit, but Golden State still brought all the energy out of the gate. And that was on display as they chipped away at a 16-point deficit, rather than folding their hand.
Grading the key: 10 out of 10.
The key: Disrupt Chris Paul’s rhythm and don’t let him dictate the flow of the game.
The outcome: Paul had a very nice game, with an efficient 24 points, 10 assists, and just 3 turnovers.
Yet despite putting up nice numbers, it never felt like he was fully in control of the game. Don’t get me wrong, he was excellent, as we’ve grown accustomed to. But far too often games against Paul devolve into contests that he fully dictates. On Tuesday, the Warriors did a good job of dictating the game, even if CP3 still got his.
Grading the key: 6 out of 10.
The key: Survive the minutes when Steph Curry and Draymond Green rest.
The outcome: Jordan Poole was excellent, with 20 points on 6-for-10 shooting, and strong offensive aggression. Juan Toscano-Anderson was sensational, with 7 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and ferocious defense. And Andrew Wiggins, whose minutes are staggered with some other starters, had his best game as a Warrior, with 38 points on 17-for-24 shooting, propelling the second unit.
The Warriors treaded water in the 11 minutes Curry sat, and in the 11 minutes Green sat, neither outscoring nor being outscored by Phoenix. Treading water is a win, and shows just how improved Golden State’s bench is compared to a few months ago.
Grading the key: 8 out of 10.
That was a game well won, Dubs.