The Golden State Warriors didn’t rely on a single one of their offensive weapons to easily breeze by the Dallas Mavericks with a 108-85 win. It was their defense, led by Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala, that helped make it an easy win despite both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson having ordinary or less kind of offensive nights.
The Iguodala effect was probably best described in a sequence that began with him blocking Shawn Marion (having an awful game with 0 points), which ran the Warriors on a fast break. Curry missed a pretty open three point shot (missed a lot of them) but Iguodala, not showing his incredible athletic ability too often these days (or at least not when it comes to dunks) rose high above the rest for the huge put back dunk.
Andrew Bogut probably deserves the MVP of the game award. Not just for a rare 15 points, 10 rebounds double double from him on a 7-of-9 shooting day, but for his defense and energy, which pretty much wiped out any attempt from the Mavs to try and score in the paint. Things were awful for the Mavs with their starters and even worse later on, but it was the defensive and physical tone set by Bogut early on that rode with the Warriors the rest of the way.
The team’s leading scorer was actually Jordan Crawford, scoring 19 points off the bench, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. Steve Blake had his best game since joining from the Lakers, scoring 9 points and adding 8 assists while Harrison Barnes also enjoyed his night more than usual with 13 points, playing next to Draymond Green who once again dominated whoever he was guarding.
Stephen Curry scored 10 points, making it his fifth consecutive game with less than 20 points. He shot only 4-of-12 from the field and 1-of-5 from beyond the arc to finish with 10 points and four assists. However, the Warriors have won all of those five games with Curry often not having to play more than 30 minutes. He spent only 22 on the floor against the Mavs.
His usual partner in crime, Klay Thompson, was a bit more effective as a scorer with 14 points on 6-of-10 from the field including a couple of impressive turnaround jumpers. The Warriors had an answer for the few defensive changes the Mavs tried making, and overpowered them in every area of the court from the tip off to the final buzzer going off.
This was once again proof of how the Warriors will rise and fall and the quality of their defense, not the shooting performances of their guards. There will be better teams than the Mavs to try and figure out in the playoffs, probably. However, the foundations for success, before making the necessary adjustments and alterations, are there to see. Making the offense not about Curry doing anything he likes, but making it much easier for him by providing a safety net through excellent defense led by Iguodala and Bogut. If the Warriors can stay true to these principals, we’re going to see another very enjoyable and surprising postseason from them.