We’ve gotten used to Stephen Curry, the scoring and especially three-point shooting machine. However, the current winning streak has shows us how much he’s improved as a point guard and player, while also putting a focus on the Golden State Warriors moving on to a point where their star’s scoring isn’t the thing that determines whether they succeed or not.
Curry hasn’t scored more than 19 points in the four game winning streak, adding 18 to the bunch in the 113-107 win over the Phoenix Suns. His strained right quad might be bothering him, but it’s not letting him take time off. In the third quarter, just as the Warriors were beginning their comeback run after the Suns dominated the first half, he told Mark Jackson not to take him out, and the three-guard lineup with Steve Blake and Klay Thompson worked very well.
Thompson himself was the lynchpin in that run. The Warriors scored 16 consecutive points at some stage (winning that quarter 38-17), and Thompson himself added 13 of those points. He finished with 22 in the game, and in the second half was finally able to catch up with Goran Dragic, who made life very difficult for him, along with Gerald Green (the two combined to score 49 points), in the first half.
David Lee will always be a player who looks good on the stat sheets but slightly annoying when you focus on the little things. He doens’t defend well and often loses his man in rotations. But his effort, energy and above all basketball skills and sense of positioning do make him a useful player, despite all the theories that grew last season during he playoffs. He led the Warriors with 26 points and 9 rebounds, being the only consistent and reliable points producer in a front line that includes Bogut who is extremely limited offensively and Andre Iguodala, who can’t seem to find any sort of shooting consistency.
Another popular theory among Warriors fans is Andre Iguodala stunting the growth and development of Harrison Barnes, suddenly becoming a bench player which hasn’t agreed with his game very much. The Warriors might need a bit better Barnes further down the road, but they’re quite happy with what they’re getting from Jermaine O’Neal, still capable of being a very effective big man in the right role, and Draymond Green. Green is an energy guy which helps the others do better, but there’s more to him than effort. He’s a smart player, not to mention talented in certain areas, adding 13 points, doing a very good job on Markieff Morris who was only 3-of-10 from the field, en route to 10 points.
The Warriors are doing a great job in staying away from the trouble zone of 7th-8th in the West, with Memphis offering a real threat Phoenix and Dallas (overtaking the Suns at 8th actually after this game). It’s hard to see them getting home court advantage, but getting a bit more solid defense from a few more players and knowing they can ease the pressure off of Curry when it comes to scoring and carrying the team each night might mean once again being a surprising playoff team, with more to offer than last season.