Stephen Curry

Both the Golden State Warriors and the Atlanta Hawks were missing their starting shooting guards as the conference leaders squared off for the second time this season. One team didn’t really get any worse despite the key omission.

The Warriors got their revenge and handed a 114-95 loss to the Atlanta Hawks who really seem to be struggling without the broken nose of Kyle Korver. Their rhythm and ability to space the floor gets seriously hindered, resulting in 35.6% from the field due to the usual ball movement not looking remotely close to what has helped them win so many games this season.

Meanwhile, Klay Thompson missing isn’t such a hit for the Warriors. Not when it means more minutes for Andre Iguodala, scoring 21 points off the bench, proving to be just as athletic, efficient in his shooting and good defensively like the younger player he replaced. Stephen Curry didn’t even have to be exceptionally good in this win, scoring 16 points on 4-of-11 from the field, although his 12 assists share a different part of this story.

Al Horford was the biggest loser in this encounter, which might turn out to be meaningful as the Warriors open a two game lead over the Hawks in overall standings en route to promising home court advantage from the first round through the finals. He tried scoring from close range against Bogut and couldn’t. He tried moving a bit further away from the basket and was unable to. The Hawks couldn’t get him going, and doing it on his own didn’t work as well, shooting just 4-of-18 from the field.

Dennis Schroeder, someone who should be giving the Hawks a big advantage over plenty of teams when it comes to the backup point guard spot, was just as bad, shooting 1-of-12 from the field and scoring 8 points. The unselfish, smart and fast ball movement we’re used to seeing from the Hawks just wasn’t there. Not having Korver draw so much attention to himself was part of the progressing problem.

The Warriors are getting close to the point in which they no longer have to worry about the Memphis Grizzlies, standing 7.5 games above them in the West. There are a lot of teams tanking in order to get a draft pick and a lot of lottery balls, but resting your starters, something Steve Kerr took a lot of flack for this week, is becoming a very real possibility for the Warriors in what might turn out to be a very long period of garbage time for the best team in the NBA right now.

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