By: Zack Farmer

I never thought the words would come out of my mouth but the Warriors are actually playing four quarters of defense.There have been flashes over the years but can anybody remember the last time the Warriors played defense this well as a team?

In three games under Mark Jackson, the Warriors have held opponents to 45, 41 and 40 percent shooting in successive games.  What makes it more impressive is who they have done it against.

The Clippers, Bulls and Knicks.

The Clippers game got away from them in the final quarter but they kept Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in check for majority of the game.  Lob City only had one lob for the night.

The Bulls, albeit not a great shooting team, are one of the best teams in the NBA, have the reigning MVP, and is a contender for a championship.  Rose was held to 13 points on 4-for-17 shooting.

But then the Dubs followed it up by doing it to the very capable Knicks and held Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire to a combined 29 points.

How are they doing this? Two words: the bench.  Depth and size were glaring problems heading into the offseason and even though the Warriors did not make the big flashy move, they very quietly put together a team with a strong defensive mentality.

Kwame Brown, Brandon Rush, Ish Smith, Klay Thompson, and Dominic McGuire have averaged a combined 27.7 points, 14.4 rebounds and 3.6 steals per game, production the Warriors were desperately missing last season.  This is when you don’t include Ekpe Udoh.  They make up 30 percent of the scoring. Last year, the top five players off the bench composed 26 percent of the scoring.  Not only has this been encouraging, but the rebounding has been incredible.  They have outrebounded their opponents in two of the three games, including last night grabbing 16 more rebounds than New York.

Remember that guy Tyson Chandler who almost signed with the Warriors? Two points and three rebounds last night.

The mentality is different. The focus seems better. The attention to details is better.  Doesn’t this sound like another Bay Area team having a comeback season by way of its defense?  It’s early yet but the signs are there that this team could be more competitive than many thought possible heading into the season.

Zack Farmer is a freelance reporter who writes for the San Francisco Examiner,, and Bay City News Service.

Follow Zack Farmer on Twitter: @ZFarmerExaminer