Welcome to Warriors Weekly after one of the more memorable games and weeks in Warriors’ regular season history.
The Week that Was:
Stephen Curry’s half court buzzer-beater against Orlando feels like an eternity ago. That was Thursday.
The insanity of the OKC game has pushed even the Miami and Orlando games to the back burner. Both were exciting and featured similarly great (albeit less definitive) Stephen Curry performances.
Monday’s contest against Atlanta was notable because it marked another time a team came back after a Golden State lead but continued the insane run of wins in games the team led by 15+ all the same.
In many other weeks, Curry’s three off of Hassan Whiteside’s block of a Draymond three would have been the trademark highlight. Instead it becomes another “oh yeah, that happened too!” moment in this season. Same with the halfcourt shot in Orlando that was a pivot point in another exciting contest.
That all faded to the background due to one of the greatest regular season games in league history, my personal favorite without digging too deeply into the memory banks. Both teams played very well and the performances only made a potential playoff series even more tantalizing. If you want to hear my extended thoughts on it, Nate Duncan and I recorded an emergency Dunc’d On podcast at 12:30 AM that night.
Stephen Curry Above the Break Three Update: Stephen Curry has made 246 above the break three pointers this year, more than four teams. Curry’s 46.8% shooting from there is better than every NBA team from mid-range and in the paint (non-restricted area) without even accounting for the fact that 3 > 2. He also passed JJ Redick to be the player with the highest shooting percentage in the top 30 in above the break three attempts, which is truly remarkable since he has tried so many more than everyone else.
Stephen Curry Total Three Pointers Update: Stephen Curry now has 288 made three pointers on the season, more than anyone ever. He has played in 56 games so far.
The Soapbox: What to Take Away from the Report About What Happened in the Locker Room at Halftime of the OKC Game
I don’t care. You shouldn’t either.
On to Oakland.
The Soapbox: What is Left to Learn (in the Regular Season)
After Sunday’s insanity, there is actually not that much left for the Warriors to prove in the regular season. They have beaten every non-Spurs title contender both at Oracle and on their home floor while getting enough of a margin that a healthy Golden State squad should be able to secure the league’s best record unless they lose all three remaining games to San Antonio.
That being said, there are still some major angles to watch specifically in the regular season as this team prepares for their larger goals:
- Workload for the starters
Last season, the starters played in the low to mid thirties until mid-April and Coach Kerr talked about how he wanted to keep the team in rhythm. The team should expect a more challenging opponent in the first round this year so starting out strong will be important but getting more rest in the near term and then getting the levels right in April could be the best tact. Playing more games at Oracle could resolve this as the most reliable way for the starters to lower their minute count is by not having to play fourth quarters.
The playoffs will resolve some of the issues with backup lineups because there will be less minutes for non-starters but how the staff chooses to handle those groupings now will be instructive for what they are looking for now and down the line. I am less focused on the center spot (in the postseason, those minutes will go to Bogut, Green and Ezeli if healthy) and more on if Barbosa and/or Rush can work their way in.
- Kevon Looney
Looney likely will not be a factor in the playoff run so his minutes with the big club in the regular season should be the best glimpse into his future until Summer League. The possibility of Looney joining the rotation in earnest as soon as next season opens up a world of opportunities regardless of what happens around him at the forward positions.
They may do it, they may not but chasing 73 makes the last month and a half substantially more interesting.
The Week to Come:
A strange stretch because the Warriors saw so many of the upcoming opponents recently. Golden State has faced four of their next six opponents since the All-Star break that ended eleven days ago.
They start this week the same as the last one: against the Hawks after a notable road win. This time it occurs at Oracle at Atlanta will be coming off a could of nice wins (Chicago and Charlotte) as opposed to a couple of disappointing losses.
Then comes the headliner: Oklahoma City for the final time in the 2015-16 regular season. No sales pitch needed, especially considering how reliably these two teams have played great games over the last few years.
Finally, the Dubs’ only road game in the first half of March comes at Staples against the Lakers. I am sure they will appreciate having a less intense contest since it will be the front end of a back-to-back.
2-1 would be a strong outcome fans should be thrilled with but saying anything other than 3-0 feels like malpractice so I’ll go with that.