Predictably, the Golden State Warriors got off to a slow, discombobulated start against the Orlando Magic on Sunday. With tip off at 9AM Pacific standard time, the California natives spent the better part of the first two quarters playing like a bunch of guys still working out the cobwebs of an early morning.
The team coughed up the ball seven times and shot 3-of-10 from the field in the game’s opening six minutes. At the half, Golden State found itself tied 50-50 with a Magic team that currently sits 10 games below .500.
But then: enter the Warriors’ third quarter torture chamber. Golden State dropped 42 points on Orlando behind an incendiary Stephen Curry, who scored 16 points in the frame, to run away with another easy victory.
Here are 10 thoughts on the game:
1. These Warriors third quarters are as much fun as they are routine. Mess around for the game’s first 24 minutes, watch Red Panda do her thing during half time, and then finish off the other team in the ensuing twelve minutes. The Dubs outscored the Magic by 18 points on 14-of-25 shooting from the field and connected on eight 3-pointers in the third stanza. Steph did his super-long 3-pointer thing. Kevin Durant dropped seven easy points. Klay found his 3-point stroke. And the defense held Orlando to 11-of-25 shooting. Just one dominant post-half time performance after the other.
2. JaVale McGee was a jolt of caffeine off the bench in the first quarter. In five minutes, McGee scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds, but more importantly, his hard runs to the rim forced the rest of the Warriors to dash with him, which finally got the team out of their early funk.
3. Quite a streak of reunions for Durant (15 points, 10 boards, 6 assists, 1 demonstrative and-1). First he saw Russell Westbrook and the rest of the Thunder, then James Harden in Houston, and in this game, Serge Ibaka in Orlando. Is this a bad time to bring up the fact that these four guys all played on the same team once upon a time?
4. With Shaun Livingston out for rest, Patrick McCaw got 20 minutes and managed a decent 10-point, 1-assist, 1-rebound night on 4-of-11 shooting. The rookie still looks skittish and unsure on offense, but against a rebuilding Magic team, this was a perfect time to get Pat some playing time.
5. The Dubs have set the bar so high that no one is mentioning that at 38-6. they’re just about on a 71-win pace.
6. If nothing else, Damian Jones looks the part of an NBA center. He’s mobile, athletic, long, and despite a penchant for jumping at every pump fake, I’d still like to see him get a minute or two against this slate of so-so Eastern Conference teams.
7. These Warriors, man. No. 1 in offensive efficiency. No. 1 in defensive efficiency.
8. Growing up, my dad used to buy old, broken cars and keep them in the garage, claiming he’d eventually get around to fixing them. What ended up happening was our house turned into a quasi-junk yard surrounded by rusty Hondas, Toyotas and Old Mobiles that could barely run. That’s kind of how I feel about the Warriors’ center position. There are, nominally, seven centers on the roster, but the team can only rely on two of them (Zaza Pachulia and David West). From time to time, JaVale will have a lob-tastic game, and for future salary cap reasons, they need to keep and develop the young guys. But if the other two aren’t going to bring any kind of on-court value, then perhaps it’s time to start thinking about balancing out the roster with a wing and a ball handler.
9. Because it was abundantly apparent that with West and Livingston out, the Dubs were hurting for dependable bench help. Steve Kerr trotted out a Green-Iguodala-Clark-McCaw-
10. There were a lot of Warriors fans in the building. I’d guess there were probably a million, a million and half Dubs fans in the Amway Center.