Stephen Curry looks super. Big efforts from Wiggins, Green propel Dubs to victory
A tough one, as expected, but Golden State proves too much for the Pelicans leaky defense
It was Marvel Superhero night over at ESPN, so of course Stephen Curry had to don his cape once again and lift the Golden State Warriors to victory over the New Orleans Pelicans by a score of 123-108.
It was a close one.
As expected Zion Williams bullied his way through an under-sized Warriors’ team, scoring 32 points and putting the entire Warriors team into foul trouble.
The Marvel broadcast was on a bit of a delay (understandable given the addition of graphics and post production, but… it was kind of fun?
You’ll probably be seeing a lot of highlights of Curry (41 points on the night) and Williamson scoring - or some of the astute Draymond Green passes or defensive plays as he earned another triple-double, but I’d like to take a moment to honor Andrew Wiggins. Coming in, it wasn’t even a given that Wiggins could play (due to a lingering knee issue), but he was fantastic all game.
As Curry was resting, and the game was still very much up for grabs, it was Wiggins that stepped in and kept throwing jabs at the Pelicans until Curry and Green checked back in for a game-closing haymaker. Maybe it’s the fresh dose of happiness off this win, but I am ecstatic to see Wiggins step up in this game.
All season, the coach has been telling the team to play with maximum intent, and now, finally when the spotlight is shining the brightest, Wiggins came up big for the Warriors.
This game was doubly important for Golden State, as they chase their way to the end of the season in heavy traffic amongst the NBA’s play-in tournament hopefuls. These teams will be right back at it tomorrow, but for tonight, the Warriors can apply a bunch of ice packs and rest well knowing that they shouldered away the Pelicans - who are now trailing the Warriors by four games, with just seven games remaining.
As predicted, the Pelicans killed the Warriors on the glass, and got to the free throw line a ton, but it wasn’t enough to keep pace with the Warriors offense - which was feasting on New Orleans’ 27th-ranked defense.
Also interesting, the Pelicans took 50% of their total shot attempts at the rim, but only managed to convert 52% of them (a mark that Cleaning the Glass characterizes as in the 12% percentile).
As always, this is just a short little post game thread. So let the party roll, and our team will be back with more coverage of this game, and tomorrow’s.
Oh, and for those wondering, Draymond Green was the Marvel champion tonight.
Steph has 299 threes this season. Next three will be the fourth time someone has 300+ Curry x 3, Harden). Harden had 299 last year.
This game was cool, and the Marvel collab broadcast, while silly, was kind of fun. I think they were putting a little too much emphasis on the "hero points" and not that much on the non-box-score parts of the game, but I guess that's what happens when you have a set of second-string announcers calling a minigame within a game. Draymond was very deserving of his win in the Marvel Hero challenge thing, but Steph could've had him any number of ways (not missing a FT, not dribbling it off his leg out of bounds randomly, etc.).
I loved the attention and effort the team put into the defensive end to start and finish the game. They forced a bunch of turnovers and tough shots, scored some great blocks, and pushed it in transition to get quality looks out of it. Wiggins had a sneaky good night: reasonably efficient, big buckets at key moments, quality defense as per now usual, while playing over 38 minutes on a supposedly-questionable knee. Poole and Mulder chipped in some good shots as well; I especially think Poole did a good job ball-handling to start the 2nd. Bazemore did a lot on the defensive end to help keep the Pels offense from clicking. And JTA had a beast of a game: tons of defensive energy, and on the offensive end he continued to show amazing awareness and creativity to find ways to get Steph good looks or get other Warriors great looks. Honestly between the incredible heart and the impressive BBIQ, it feels like there are not many guys in the league who could be as great for this team as Juanito lately.
There was a bit in the 3rd where the Pels made a push, and I was worried foul trouble on Curry would put us in danger, but the team found a way to stabilize the defense and keep contesting shots without fouling, which is one of those things that can sometimes make a whole game come unraveled if they can't figure it out. Mulder and JTA were distinctly part of that turnaround, alongside Steph, Dray, and Wiggins.
I'm a little worried about Wiggin's knee for tomorrow, but thankfully that one feels a lot less do-or-die now that we've got one in the bag and favorable outcomes from SAS and MEM.
Final takeaway from the Marvel broadcast: I'mma keep saying "WAKANDA FOREVER" every time Wiggins makes a sick play like some of the ones he had tonight. (Draymond had the dunk of the night though, a monster slam off a fake handoff.)