For the second straight game, the Golden State Warriors played a bad basketball team at home. And for the second straight game, the Warriors didn’t play well. At all.
And because of it, for the second straight game, the Warriors found themselves tied with 5.1 seconds left, inbounding from the right sideline with a shot at a win.
Against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday the ball found the hands of Juan Toscano-Anderson, who drove to the hoop and missed a potential game-winning layup, sending the game to an overtime where the Dubs would struggle.
Against the Houston Rockets on Friday, the Warriors put the ball in the hands of Steph Curry.
This was the article I had written, before that play, when I assumed the Warriors would win in less-exciting fashion:
If I had told you before the Golden State Warriors hosted consecutive games against an Indiana Pacers team missing all of their starters, and a Houston Rockets team that has made a comfortable home at the very bottom of the Western Conference standings, that the Dubs would lose one game and need some heroics to win the other, you wouldn’t have been very happy.
So that explains the sour taste in your mouth, even though the Warriors sent you into the weekend with a win.
I’m not really here to quell that taste. A day after the Warriors had their ugliest loss of the season, they came through with their ugliest win. But I am, perhaps, here to remind you that they all look the same in the standings.
And when Klay Thompson is worked into the fold, Draymond Green is healthy, and the Dubs are catching fire with the playoffs fast approaching, you’ll either remember this game with a chuckle, or you won’t remember it at all.
Now I can delete that (though I’d rather repurpose it, clearly). Because while the Warriors looked bad, and there are certainly plenty of reasons to be concerned about them, you instead get to waltz into a lovely January weekend with the euphoric sweetness of a Steph Curry game-winning jumper coating your taste buds.
It was an awful first half by the Dubs, who trailed by six points after one quarter, and 11 at the halftime break. With Green sidelined by injury the defense has looked awful, and Houston’s lowly offense had no issue carving up Golden State. Worse yet, the offense looked like something that would make a Summer League team cringe.
The ball was stagnant. There were limited cuts and screens, with players opting to hold the ball for 10 seconds, then dribble aimlessly before inviting a teammate to do the same. There were missed jumpers — many of them.
Curry had absolutely nothing going, and no one seemed interested in helping him.
And then the third quarter switch happened. The Dubs found rhythm, with Kevon Looney and Gary Payton II leading a defensive charge, while rhythm and energy started to fill up the offensive end of the court, especially from Curry (who finished with 22 points and 12 assists after opening the game 1-for-10), Jordan Poole (20 points on 7-for-15 shooting), and Otto Porter Jr. (13 points on 5-for-8 shooting).
The Dubs tied it entering the fourth quarter, and from there the teams went back and forth, trading run for run. At one point, with just under five minutes remaining, Houston had a six-point possession, on a four-point play that included a flagrant foul, allowing the Rockets to keep the ball for another score. That pushed their lead to nine, and made you wonder what else was on TV.
But the Warriors fought back, finally tying the game on a pair of Porter free throws with 1:22 left.
Both teams went scoreless for the next 1:21.
And then Steph happened.
It gave the Warriors a 105-103 win, and pushed their record to 32-13. It sure as hell wasn’t pretty ... until it was.