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Was Draymond right that the Warriors will win without Kevin Durant?
We’ve seen Steph Curry go put up crazy scoring nights despite being saddled with foul trouble from a combo of overeager reaching and being targeted.
We’ve also seen the Golden State Warriors go on the road and crush the will of Eastern Conference contenders in 2 1/2 quarters. You can ask LeBron’s Cavaliers about that (Cleveland fired their coach after the beatdown.)
And we’ve even see Draymond Green activate a lethal defensive gear to shutdown All-Star 7-footers before. Ask Anthony Davis.
When Kevin Durant departed to create his own superteam alongside Kyrie Irving and James Harden in New York, and Klay Thompson’s body broke down from stomping the league into submission, the NBA could finally relax. The Warriors’ time was up according to Patrick Beverly, and Steph was finding out how tough it was to be a lone star according to Damian Lillard. The league could finally dream of life beyond the iron fist of the Warriors dynasty.
It’s time to wake up from that dream, NBA. The Warriors just visited New York to see KD’s new team and beat the hell out of the Brooklyn Nets 117-99 to stay at the top of the NBA standings with a 12-2 record. The Dubs wiped em out before the fourth quarter started, Curry put up a scintillating performance despite being benched for fouling, and Green put on a premier defensive performance. No super team, no injury luck, and yet it’s the same result as the dynasty days. How?!
Steph Curry is a star of stars
On a night where Durant and Harden were playing in front of their home fans, it was Curry’s night to shine. This dude is unbelievable.
I defer to the wacky world of Twitter to show you the seismic reverberations he caused in New York like a 6-foot-3 Godzilla. Take your time to scroll:
3rd Quarter domination continues
On October 27th, I wrote a recap of a W over the Thunder where I boldly claimed that the Warriors old superpower of dominating 3rd quarters was back. And I was STILL stunned by what Golden State did to Brooklyn in the penultimate period last night.
That first half was as tight as they come, with Durant and Curry trading highlight reel shots and both team’s role players playing their roles with playoff intensity. It took a 13-point second quarter effort from Andrew Wiggins, capped off with this buzzer beat over KD, to give the Dubs a tiny bit of breathing room going into the half.
This game looked like it was going to be a tight race until the end. Except, no, the Warriors don’t like those. They’d rather run the oxygen out of their opponent’s lungs with nonstop motion on offense, while simultaneously locking them up with a defense stingier than Alcatraz. But the funny thing was after they broke the game open in typical fashion, Curry and Wiggins got hit with foul trouble and had to sit down.
7:00 left to go in the third, up 78-65 and ready to blow the game open, and their two highest paid players had to sit next to Coach Steve Kerr. This is the kind of opportunity stars like Durant and Harden thrive on typically. But the Warriors refused to cede ground.
In that crucial seven minute stanza without Unanimous and Maple Jordan, the Dubs activated Strength in Numbers to limit Brooklyn to 3-of-12 shooting from the field!! The Dubs also struck back with 6-of-8 shooting of their own, confidently dancing the steps of Kerr’s motion offense while targeting Patty Mills in the pick-and-roll when all else failed.
Draymond Green is the hero Golden State needs
The last time the Warriors were 11-2 was the infamous night when Green and Durant clashed in front of the whole world as teammates. It was the biggest sign at that point that the dynasty was running on fumes. Green reportedly said something along the lines of “We don’t need you. We won without you. Leave.”
In retrospect, Green’s line of thought showed an unbridled confidence in terms of GSW still being a championship level contender without Durant’s superpowers. Whether that’s true remains to be seen in the big picture, but Green is absolutely eager to do his part to make that a reality.
Green backed up that sentiment last night with a fantastic all-around game: 11 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists on 5-of-6 shooting from the field. It was his defensive chess moves against Durant that helped swing the balance of the game GSW’s way for good.
Holding the leading scorer in the NBA and a two-time Finals MVP without a field goal in the second half of a nationally televised game is the stuff of legends. It also helps when Green shows him a little bit of his own offensive repertoire.
Best win of the season…so far.