Stephen Curry again showed (like he has all season) why the man is more than deserving of a spot as a starter on the Western Conference all-star roster.
After Thursday night’s win against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Warriors traveled to Utah Friday night in a back-to-back game to face the Jazz, it was a close game through out, which I’m sure made the Warriors uncomfortable being that Utah is the Riggin-for-Wiggns (or whatever name you want to use for the 2014 NBA draft lottery) sweepstakes. Stephen Curry however looked about as comfortable as a player can be on a basketball court, Curry was spectacular in the 95-90 win, scoring 44 points on 14-26 shooting from the field (8-13 from 3) throwing up impossible 3′s between 35-38 feet, people in his face contesting the shot, every 3 Curry took, you expected it to go in.
The last 4 games the Warriors have focused on every aspect of defense, rim protection, help defense, man-to-man defense, crashing the boards to finish the possession. It has translated to only allowing opponents to score under 95 points the last 4 games.
Last Sunday the struggling defense of the Warriors was put to the test going up against the number 1 offense in the NBA (scoring 109.5 points per game) in the Portland Trailblazers, and the Warriors’ defense answered the bell, one of the more notable performances in that game was put on by Warriors Power Forward David Lee, holding MVP candidate LaMarcus Aldridge (the best Power Forward in the game) to 2-14 shooting, Aldridge only scored 11 points. David Lee who is not known for his defense, had 17 points and 12 rebounds and played some astounding defense on Aldridge, the Warriors as a whole held the NBA’s best offense to just 88 points and the Blazers shot 33.7% from the field.
The Warriors couldn’t follow up on the spectacular win, as they went on to lose Tuesday night against the Washington Wizards 88-85, the offense from both team’s were struggling throughout the game, it was a product of great defense for stretches but also a mix of shots just simply not going in. Wizards guard John Wall hit the go-ahead 3 pointer with 1:00 minute left to give the wizards an 88-85 lead and the Warriors were unable to score down the stretch and the score stayed the same.
The Warriors have won 3 out of their last 4 now, and may still find their groove before the all-star break as they play 4 out of the next 5 games at home and they’ll play some of the worst teams in the eastern conference in 3 of those home games. The final game for the Warriors before all-star break will be against the 2x defending champion Miami Heat, this time around the game will be in Oakland. In the first meeting between these two teams, the Warriors won 123-114 thanks again the hot shooting of Steph Curry in that game (canning eight 3 pointers). If the Warriors want to capitalize on next slate of games before all-star break, the Warriors have to continue to play defense, and get shooting guard Klay Thompson out of his recent shooting slump, Thompson in the last 4 games has shot a combined 20-72 from the field (27%, yikes), I anticipate the slump wont last much longer, as shooters always have that short-term memory mentality, but Thompson’s shooting is going to play an instrumental part in how the Warriors finish going into the all-star break and beyond.
The Warriors like always, have their opportunities in front of them.
*side note* It is Super Bowl Sunday and just about everyone is giving predictions, so it’s only fair I give mine, I’ve teetered back an forth with this pick and was originally going to pick the Broncos but….
Final Score: Seahawks 24 – Broncos 21
The Legion of Boom will have their problems at times vs Peyton Manning but the elements will play a factor, and in a vacuum i’d take Seattle’s defense over Denver’s (though improved) defense.
Have a great Sunday!