For a team like the Golden State Warriors, there comes a time where pride is on the line. Or at least some of it. It’s certainly not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things but in the moment, up 3 at halftime after a 18-point lead early in the second half, and their Death Lineup beaten by 4 in the final 4 minutes of the first half, it felt large.
So Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green came out in the second half and did what they do against every other team in the NBA (including the LeBron James) and annihilated the Dallas Mavericks en route to a 133-103 victory. Steph sat the entire fourth quarter. The bench got to shake off its rust with some Livingston turnarounds Nick Young treys, and Patrick McCaw burn.
And after a day that Steph and the Warriors were dragged by the dregs of the internet as the most unlikeable team in sports, and its most arrogant, Jordan Bell put the exclamation mark on that notion with a fastbreak off the backboard windmill bash. Arrogant Season is back.
As for the game itself, the same storylines from the first three games showed up yet again throughout the entire first half. There’s no point re-hashing it repeatedly. Instead, the most interesting stat is that the Warriors were -20 at the time of Anthony Slater’s tweet without Steph on the floor. Steph Better might be hyperbole, taken as a joke, but at its core, is true for this team ever since he ascended to the superstar level.
They can get away with elite defense that leads to unstoppable transition offense. Durant is probably the second-best overall player on Earth and leading the bench units with Klay Thompson and yet. Joe Lacob, Bob Myers, and Steve Kerr can create the most beautiful offense and roster ever. But the Warriors simply do not look like the Golden State Warriors without Stephen Curry operating at his highest level.
Part of that is because the Warriors’ dirty little secret is they only have 4 real shooters (not counting Omri Casspi who isn’t i the rotation right now) so the cramping is bad for bench units despite the multitude of excellent actual players themselves. In short, in small sample sizes, it could lead to really stinky moments like the one today that saw them blow an 18-point lead.
And to add to that, Steph is somehow reaching James Harden levels of swindling for free throws, going a perfect 13-13 tonight and a pristine 39-39 on the season. On top of that he’s now averaging 8.7 free throws on the season above his career average of 3.9. After last postseason where he averaged nearly 7 free throws a game, this is starting to look like a trend.
My only gripe is that it is a little aesthetically displeasing than the fully unleashed Stephen Curry that won back-to-back MVPs. But if that’s what we’re concerned about in the near future, life is good. And for the Warriors after a sluggish 1-2 start, the Dallas Mavericks provided the best cure possible.