|Andre Iguodala, SF 44 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 6 AST | 4 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +8Iguodala and Klay Thompson got cooked by Joe Johnson in their last meeting — 8/17 shooting (9/11 FT) and 27 points — which ended up ending the Warriors then 10-game winning streak. Andre has looked a lot better as of late, facilitating on offense and showing why he’s become such a valuable asset to this team. Defensively, he’s staying in front of players and moving well laterally, which he wasn’t doing for some time following his injury. With Bogut out, Andre’s defensive awareness is that much more important. He also was the second leading rebounder Saturday night, another area where Bogut and David Lee usually dominate.|
|Draymond Green, SF 38 MIN | 5-16 FG | 8-10 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 18 PTS | +14Maybe Draymond Green has earned more minutes now? After a measly 11 minutes on Thursday night, Green played 38 minutes in light of David Lee’s injury and he took full advantage. He didn’t produce the most efficient night on offense, but he ended up with 18 points nonetheless and 10 rebounds to go along with two assists. His aggression on both ends led to three steals (and the most important stop of the game) as well as eight free throws. He’ll never start over Lee, but he’s earned more playing time than Harrison Barnes, and Jackson would be smart to insert Green as his first man off the bench instead of the second-year Falcon. While Barnes continues to struggle, Green continues to flourish, and while once seen as a liability on offense, ahe continues to draw fouls and hit the occasional wide-open jumper, as well as dish out assists. The team plays well when he’s on the floor, and he’s an upgrade over Barnes on both ends at this point.|
|Jermaine O’Neal, C 34 MIN | 10-13 FG | 3-3 FT | 13 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 23 PTS | +12The Warriors are 5-1 when O’Neal starts, which is the simplest way of saying he’s still got it. After playing Dwight Howard tough on Thursday, O’Neal plays his best game as a Warrior. Incredible efficient inside, O’Neal hit all three of his free throws and grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds in the process. The team will need Andrew Bogut come the playoffs, but O’Neal has proven to be a viable backup. No, he didn’t visit Germany, but JO looked every bit as nifty as he was in his Indiana days. His play will be even more important if Festus Ezeli fails to return to full strength this season, which as the games go by seem less and less likely as well. He’s only played in 22 games this season, but he’s performed well on both ends in most cases.|
|Stephen Curry, PG 32 MIN | 7-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 8 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | +12Curry only took 13 shots and scored an eerily low 17 points, but his scoring played second fiddle to O’Neal’s. Brooklyn credited JO’s output to Curry’s presence and his drawing of double teams. While the game got fearfully close there late, Curry made an impressive 27′ bank shot to put the Warriors up five and seal the victory. Mark Jackson said he called the bank shot, but even if he didn’t, who cares. He made it. When the Splash Brothers combine for 23 points you don’t expect a win, but the production of (gasp!) Green and O’Neal led the way towards the gritty win. This game wasn’t pretty and was quite disturbing to watch for 3.5 quarters, but those are games that Green and O’Neal love. Curry’s presence was enough to draw others away from those two and he sealed the game like great players do. Curry looked fresh late as Steve Blake has already leveled the second-unit and given Curry the much needed rest he’s been seeking the entire season. His time not on the floor will prove dividends come heavy, grind-it-out games come playoff time. It’s whether the Warriors can afford him off the floor for extended stretches that will be the question.|
|Klay Thompson, SG 30 MIN | 3-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +19While the Warriors are 3-0 and playing well in the Steve Blake era, Thompson is continuing his streaky ways with another off night. Jackson will never dismiss a player publicly, but his willingness to give Thompson the green light is hurting his team at times, and as long as Thompson is unwilling to pass the rock this won’t change. This is a “make or miss league” is the most tired phrase related to this team, but with Thompson it really is a matter of making shots or missing them in regards to his offensive contributions. He still can’t create for others and while he grabbed six rebounds on Saturday, is still largely invisible on the glass (3.0 RPG on the season).|
Quote of the night:
KG: “I haven’t seen JO play like that since goddamned Indiana”
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) February 23, 2014
Looking ahead: The Warriors now embark on a six-game road trip starting on Monday that sees them heading to Detroit, Chicago, New York, Toronto, Indiana and Boston.
Jermaine’s incredible night:
I might do this next time I play pick-up. Might not:
— warriorsworld (@warriorsworld) February 23, 2014
Your second-unit update of the night:
While Green and O’Neal flourished in the starting lineup, your newest Warrior Steve Blake played well coming off the bench in his second game of action with his new team. His two threes helped, but it was his ability to run an offense that proved most encouraging. Jordan Crawford can score, but he can’t initiate an offense like Blake can, and the former Maryland Terp had five assists in 16+ minutes. Maybe it’s a good thing that Blake isn’t a gifted scorer, simply for the fact that he can make plays for others and not have to focus on getting up shots when he doesn’t have to. The offense actually extended their lead with Blake at the helm, which is a rarity for this second-unit.
Mo Speights has only played 20 minutes in his last three games, and his insertion into the dog house is nearly complete. Harrison Barnes will never see said dog house, but Green should be taking away some of Barnes’ minutes once Lee comes back healthy. After picking up 4 fouls in 12 minutes, Barnes managed to miss two more shots in his eight additional minutes. While Steezus can do no wrong, he only made two of his 10 shots and would like to forget this game. Even the greats have off nights.
Barnes’ only made shot was a nice one:
Did he call it?