At 7-5, the Golden State Warriors aren’t exactly lighting the NBA on fire but they are showing minor improvements with every game that comes and goes. Those improvements are constantly overshadowed by questions about Andrew Bogut’s ankle, the offensive struggles, and if Stephen Curry is really the right choice to lead this team into the future. However, sometimes you just need to be thankful for what you have and what you have here with the Warriors is a vastly improved team from a season ago.
The Warriors teams the past couple of years have folded when games started to get out of hand or folded when a team started to chip away at a lead. It wouldn’t just happen to good or mediocre teams – it would happen to bad ones and/or to teams missing key players. They were not ready mentally or talent-wise to handle any type of hardship. This year’s Warriors, while not perfect, have found ways to stick around in games where they aren’t playing their best and found ways to put teams away. Facing the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night was a perfect example of both.
The Warriors were down double digits early in the game but managed to scratch and claw their way back into it. Once they were able to take the lead, the Nets put up a fight increasing the pressure on defense and stifled Golden State’s offensive flow they had developed. However, they were able to find a way to maintain their composure and keep Brooklyn at bay with a 102-93 victory.
Last night was not the first time Golden State has shown they have something cooking. There have been a few games so far this season where the Warriors have managed to overcome their old demons:
- In the season opener against the Suns, they played some of the ugliest basketball one could imagine but managed to grind out a victory despite Stephen Curry only netting five points and David Lee redefining what a black hole was in basketball. “Grind out a victory” was not in the Warriors’ vocabulary the past few seasons.
- Game three of the season saw the Warriors face off against Chris Paul and the Clippers in LA. Coming off a tough loss the night before to the Grizzlies, this looked to be a scripted loss on the back end of a back-to-back. But, a clutch drawn charge by Curry on CP3 in the waining moments of the game allowed the Warriors to come away with a win in another tightly contested game. The Warriors were clutch? Yup.
- Monday night versus Dallas on another back end of a back-to-back (and yet again on the road), they nabbed an overtime win in a game that truly could have gone either way. Curry out-dueled O.J. Mayo on his way to a 31-point, 9 assist evening – a performance that would mask another awful shooting night and bad late decision-making by Klay Thompson. Be honest: you thought the Mavs would win after Klay missed that three with 15 seconds left.
While those positive steps have been taken, there are still some ugly examples of the Warriors letting games slip away or not being very competitive (see Kings, Nuggets, Lakers and Thunder). But with no transcendent superstar on the roster, this team can only take baby steps towards becoming a better team and Mark Jackson knows that. “We don’t have LeBron James. We don’t have Kobe Bryant. We don’t have Kevin Durant. So we are going to have to do it by committee. We have some special talent, but we are going to have to do it by committee. By 5 guys holding on to the rope, whether we’re on offense or defense and willing ourselves to victory. So it’s not going to look great some nights but I’m thrilled about where this team is and where we’re headed” said Jackson after last night’s win.
The season for Golden State hasn’t been anywhere close to perfect but it’s also been far from tragic which should be enough for Warriors fans right now to be thankful for where the team stands.
If it’s not, just load up on that tryptophan-filled turkey and fall asleep so you don’t have to think about it.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at WarriorsWorld.