The Golden State Warriors went into the all-star break with a 31-22 record and alternating between wins and losses every game, they needed to refocus during the break to prepare for the final 28 games of the season as they are constantly shifting between the 6th-8th seeds in the deep Western Conference.
So far so good.
First the Warriors made what could be a fantastic move, by shipping away guards Marshon Brooks and Kent Bazemore to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for point guard Steve Blake. This is pretty much the Warriors 3rd attempt at getting another ball handler to replace what Jarrett Jack brought to the Warriors (minus the terrible shot selection….) last season. The Warriors signed Toney Douglas to start the season to back-up Steph Curry, but that didn’t work out and Douglas was traded to Miami, then they acquire scorer Jordan Crawford as a back-up ball handler, and although Crawford can put the ball in the bucket, he lacks the decision making process to be a true back-up point guard. Steve Blake was highly respected as a player and a competitor among his Laker teammates, so much that his former teammate Kobe Bryant took to twitter Thursday to voice his displeasure about the trade
Something tells me the Warriors made the right move, if the Black Mamba himself gives out praise like that…
Steve Blake has only played in 7 games since his elbow injury but before that he was flourishing in Mike D’antoni’s system, having a career high assists per game average and his second best scoring average of his career. This enables the Warriors to have a steady back-up point guard to stabilize the bench and allows the Warriors to have multitude of lineups and some lineups were Steph Curry can play off the ball and have less pressure to carry the offensive load.
With that news, The Warriors also opened up post-all star break in Sacramento Wednesday, as they faced off against the DeMarcus Cousins-less Kings. The Kings historically always played the Warriors close in a lot of close games, despite consistently being one of the worst teams in the NBA for so many years now. The Warriors had to grind out the 101-92 win against the Kings as the Warriors did not shoot the three ball particularly well shooting 3 of 19 from distance (15%) and they were without the services of center Andrew Bogut.
The Warriors had to quickly turnaround and play the Houston Rockets in Oracle Arena Thursday night on a back-to-back and try to get their first win against the Rockets in the season series as the Rockets won the first two match-ups, again the Warriors did not have Andrew Bogut in this one either.
It was a relatively low scoring game to say the least, but stars James Harden, and Stephen Curry put on a show in the second half, Harden hit a nasty step-backer jumper in Klay Thompson’s grill to put the Rockets up 89-87 with 7 seconds left, then Steph Curry came back and laid the ball high off the glass over Dwight Howard to tie the game at 89-89 to force the game into overtime, were the Warriors pulled away and won 102-99.
With these 2 wins the Warriors are now 33-22 and the 7th seed in the west, they will host the Brooklyn Nets Saturday before the Warriors embark on a 6 game road trip starting Monday.
Let the playoff race begin.