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Warriors are elite defensively, lead league in assists, and Curry's going OFF
AND THEY HAVEN'T EVEN ADDED JORDAN BELL YET!
The Golden State Warriors swept their two straight games against the Oklahoma City Thunder, finishing them off last night with a 136-97 trouncing in Chase Center.
The Dubs were led by the greatest player alive Stephen Curry, who kept his name in the MVP race with a 49-point outburst in only 29 minutes of playing time hahah I can’t believe I just typed that out. THAT’S RIDICULOUS!
It also kept him ahead of the feisty Bradley Beal in the scoring title race. Beal had just gone off for 50, giving Curry an extra ounce of motivation to obliterate OKC. Curry had 24 points in the first quarter; during that same time OKC had 25 points as a team.
THIS team set a GSW franchise record for shooting?
If you’ve followed any of the social media conversation around this year’s squad, you know that one of Dub Nation’s biggest complaints has been there’s not enough shooting around Curry. If you wanna have a good laugh and waste 10 minutes of your day, type “bob myers shooters” into Twitter’s search bar and scroll through the vehement assertions that the Warriors GM has no idea where to find a decent long-range marksman.
And yet this Warriors roster did what no Golden State team had done in the past, breaking the franchise record for most made threes in a single game.
That’s pretty neat. The team shot 27-of-54(!) from downtown last night, a deep barrage that even the chuck-happy Mike D’Antoni Rockets would look at and say “damn y’all shot a lotta threes”. Per NBA.com here’s how GSW ranks from beyond the arc:
#5 in made 3PT per game (14.6)
#5 in attempted 3PT per game (38.7)
#8 in 3PT% (37.7)
Curry’s deadly shooting opens up the floor spacing and increases the confidence for his teammates. It also encourages the team to be patient yet decisive with their passing. They know that even if Curry isn’t open he pulls defenders all over the place to constantly create scoring opportunities for others. This team is always a pass away from a beautiful look at a triple; will they be able to keep making ‘em?
Gosh it’d be nice to have the second best shooter in the league Klay Thompson out there knocking in some deep shots of his own.
Draymond Green is leading a dangerous passing attack
Let’s get back to that ball movement for a sec. The Dubs lit the Thunder up for 31 assists on 47 made shots, led by Green’s 13 dimes.
As much as this season has been a revelation to the unbelievers about Curry’s ability to dominate without Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, are we understanding how much of an impact Green is having on this organization? Curry relies on Green so much to quarterback the offense as Unanimous skitters around bodies and through screens looking for a split second of an opening. He knows Green is searching for him the whole time. And he knows Green is going to have a pin-point pass for him right in shooting pocket.
Green’s passing and offensive IQ is so elite in this motion offense that some observers hesitate to call Curry a point guard because he gets to roam without the ball so often and doesn’t rack up wild assist numbers. Check what Oakland’s own Gary Payton had to say about it:
"So with Curry, I really don't think Curry is a point guard," Payton told NBC Sports Bay Area's Dorell Wright on the latest episode of Dubs Talk. "You gotta understand that. To me, he's not a point guard. He's a shooting guard. He's a scorer.
"Is he going to be in all-time assists, top 10, top five or whatever? I don't think so. I really don't. Does Curry handle the ball all the time for the Warriors? No, he doesn't. He doesn't handle the ball all the time. He's coming off screens. Draymond Green handles the ball for [the Warriors] most of the time to get [Curry] off and to get [Curry] shots off.
Green is currently on pace to be the first player to average more rebounds and assists than points (6.6 PPG, 7.1 REB, 8.7 AST). He’s ranked in fourth in the NBA in assists and his unselfish floor generalship sets the tone for the the rest of the Dubs to keep the passes coming.
Did you know these Warriors lead the league in assists with 27.6 per game? You know Coach Steve Kerr is loving that, what with all his sharing-is-caring mantra he believes uplifts teams to their highest selves.
Here’s some bonus Kerr thoughts on how passing the basketball makes the team better in multiple facets:
"I learned this with Phil Jackson and the triangle. When everyone is involved, touching the ball and cutting and screening, there's a magic that happens, there's something special where guys feel empowered, their defense gets better because they're involved. And so I think, what's important for me as a coach is to play the style we do."
I like that line about defense. It’s amazing that in all this talk about how terrible the Warriors have been this season and how Scotch taped together this roster is, they somehow still have the 5th best defense in the NBA. We know that the former defensive player of the year Green has a lot to do with that too!
If there’s a prototype of a team nobody wants to face in the playoffs it’d be one that plays strong defense, can knock down threes at a high-rate, and has an unstoppable MVP.
Wait, is that our team? The Dubs will get a chance to find out more about themselves coming up in a crucial back-to-back against Utah and Phoenix, the top two teams in the West standings.