Previewcap: Punchy Warriors will rest four players against lowly Pistons
Curry is on a tear, Green is engaged, and Golden State is playing high IQ ball
“Where there’s love, there is no effort.”
That’s one of my favorite sayings, and I think the Golden State Warriors are back to playing with that weaponized joy (copyright, D. Hardee) that has propelled this franchise into the upper stratosphere of the league for so many years. And they’re back to that free flowing hippy offense: all smiles and ball movement while they punch the opposition in their proverbial faces. It’s not any less work than previous teams, but it feel like less of an effort.
The Warriors are fresh off a dominant 4th quarter performance that conjured memories of world dominance. Powered by Curry’s offense, and a dialed in defense, they’ve been smashing through obstacles while smiling like that Kool Aid guy. Next up in the line, the perpetually rebuilding Detroit Pistons.
WHO: Golden State Warriors (13-2) at Detroit Pistons (4-10)
WHEN: Friday, November 19th, 2021 // 4:00pm PDT (← early!)
Takin’ it easy in Motor City
One of the running themes between last season and this year is the idea of “chasing wins.” It all started last season when the Warriors lost a tight game that slipped away while Curry got his pre-prescribed rest on the bench. When questioned about why Curry wasn’t brought back in sooner, Kerr quipped that the team wasn’t chasing wins. Obviously, the more concerned elements of the fan base have adopted that quip as an admission of not giving Curry a fair shake - which really resonated when the Warriors found themselves just a few games out of avoiding the play in tournament.
But you know, the wins have been chased enough this season. Curry played heavy minutes as Kerr leaned into a short rotation last night, and now it’s time to take the foot off the gas and play some developmental minutes against one of the worst teams in the league. Detroit has the 2nd worst net rating and Kelly Olynyk is unironically one of their best players. Nothing easy in the NBA, but it’s easy to understand why Golden State may have chosen tonight as a night to rest some of their main guys.
About last night
It’s all too easy to forget how thin the margins are in the NBA. If Draymond Green doesn’t airball that wide open floater… or Harrison Barnes doesn’t go on a historic cold stretch from deep… the hallways of the past are strewn with nearly-realized dreams and “what coulda been."
So a listless Warriors team found themselves down 13 headed into the 4th quarter last night - in a game they ended up winning by 15. That 36-8 4th quarter explosion was one of the scariest 12 minutes of basketball. Dominant on both ends, with key contributions from Juan Toscano-Anderson, and an unstoppable Curry, it was a haymaker of a quarter.
As with most things Warriors, the newly rediscovered dominance starts with Curry. He’s broken his own record (again) by scoring 85 threes through the first 15 games of the season.
But Curry is far from alone. Watch all the moving parts in play here as Curry uses a bunch of screens (and not screens) to torment the defense:
Defensively, it’s impossible to overstate the difference that Draymond Green makes when he’s engaged like this. A tremendous individual defender, Green’s true value comes from his ability to play free safety on defense. Partially enlivened by the return of fellow defensive ace, Andre Iguodala, the Warriors have found that elusive roster balance after a couple of wayward seasons.
In that big fourth quarter run last night, neither Draymond Green or Andre Iguodala were on the court. Iguodala was out all night of course, but Green only played about five minutes of that decisive final frame.
So who helped? Our guy Juanito was extremely valuable. He played the entire fourth, didn’t miss a single shot on his way to a busy box score (5 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal, while going 3 for 3 (including a made three pointer)). It was the first time in a while that Toscano-Anderson cracked the rotation, but it won’t be the last. He hasn’t been on the team for very long, but the man is a wise veteran that stays ready and engaged, even as he’s recently lost minutes to Jonathan Kuminga’s development. I absolutely love rooting for this man:
Ok, well, sadly, I pretty much only listen to punk rock (with a few minor exceptions), so it’s more punk this time. But if you want to drop your favorite non-punk band, I’ll dig through the songs of the most upvoted comment and use them for the next music Friday.
In the meantime, let me tell you how pumped I am to see Bad Religion next week. They’re playing with one of my bucket list bands, War on Women, but in order to find common ground with you non punks out there, here’s a Bad Religion song that you may recognize from that Sublime cover.