The Golden State Warriors Thursday night game against the Miami Heat got off to a promising start when Klay Thompson made a three-pointer on the opening possession. It gave him more points than he had in all of Tuesday’s game, when he got ejected in the third quarter against the Phoenix Suns.
It was exactly what you wanted to see. And then the game itself was exactly what you wanted to see. For the first time all year, the Warriors decided to play defense. They didn’t allow 40 points in the first quarter, or 70 points in the first half. They let Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo get theirs from time to time, but put the clamps on during the other possessions.
And as they did, the offense started to take flight. Thompson kept scoring. Steph Curry worked some magic. Andrew Wiggins was hyper efficient, while Jordan Poole provided electricity off the bench, and Draymond Green’s revamped offense was on display.
They let their foot off the gas to end the half, ceding an 8-0 run to Miami, but still led by five points at the break.
And then a wild third quarter happened. The Dubs got sloppy, with seven early turnovers. They missed plenty of good looks. And as Butler, Adebayo, and Miami’s role players started making shots, Miami got right back into it, eventually taking the lead halfway through the quarter, thanks to a 13-3 run. The 13-point lead was officially erased.
Then Curry hit a deep three to tie the game at 77, and with the crowd pumped up and the atmosphere feeling like a playoff game, the Dubs took off. They led the rest of the way, despite Miami flirting with tying it up on multiple occasions. And down the stretch it was the Splash Brothers who took over, with three after three from Chef Curry, before a dagger from Klay. When the dust settled, the highly-entertaining game ended in a 123-110 victory ... which felt fitting, even though the game was a fair bit closer than that.
Butler and Adebayo combined to record 53 points on 26 shots alongside 14 rebounds, 9 assists, 10 steals, and 3 blocks. They remain one of the most dynamic duos in the NBA. But the Warriors have their own dynamic duo. Or trio. Or quartet. Or quintet. Whatever you want to call it.
Steph led the way with a game-high 33 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists on 13-for-22 shooting from the field, including 7-for-14 from three. Thompson finished second on the Dubs in scoring with 19 points, but Wiggins and Green had far better overall performances. Wiggins recorded his first double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Green added 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists, with phenomenal defense. Wiseman and Poole both added double-digits off the bench.
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