The 103-89 win for the Golden State Warriors over the Orlando Magic wasn’t all about Stephen Curry. Klay Thompson and David Lee both shot pretty well from the floor, and Steve Blake did a very good job off the bench to help out the second unit. However, the focus, as usual, should go to the starting point guard in another sublime shooting performance.
This wasn’t an all nighter of Curry destroying his opponent. He finished with 23 points but on an excellent 9-of-13 from the field, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and 5 assists. He and Klay Thompson led the Warriors early in the second half on a 18-0 run that erased any idea of an upset for the Magic, getting swept in the season series by the Warriors for the first time since the 1991-1992 season.
David Lee scored 20 points and so did Klay Thompson, as the Warriors shot 10-of-27 from beyond the arc, while Curry and Thompson became the first pair of NBA teammates to combine for at least 400 3-pointers in a season for two years in a row. Thompson was an excellent 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, and Steve Blake, with 12 points coming off the bench provided the rest of the firepower.
The Warriors, despite being in the race for improving their position heading into the playoffs, opted to rest three key players: Two starters in Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala, while Jermaine O’Neal also got a night off which meant Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green started for them. The two weren’t very dominant offensively, combining to score only 10 points on an awful 3-of-17 from the field, finding it quite unusual to be in the lineup (Barnes was a starter last season though) and probably trying too hard to make the most of the rare opportunity.
The Magic were behind by 21 points heading into the final quarter, which meant they weren’t trying too hard to make a comeback. Both Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson were benched in the final 12 minutes, as the duo combined to score only 8 points and get completely outplayed by the Warriors backcourt. Victor Oladipo did do a better job, but it was mostly in garbage time, with the Warriors giving the rest of their starters some well needed rest.
Homestand or not, this is crunch time for Golden State, and still Mark Jackson knew what he was doing. The Orlando Magic are one of a number of teams in full tank mode, which means that unless they’re in the game entering the fourth quarter, you’re not going to see them putting on their best lineups to win a game that is already too difficult to chase anyway.
It’s good as well to try and get Barnes and Green, two players who seem to have failed to make an upgrade this season due to the Iguodala addition, involved a bit more than before. It might not be a recurring theme – getting the two of them to start together, but the Warriors need more than just Curry and Thompson’s shooting skills if they’re still dreaming an NBA championship.