One of the more despair inducing things in the NBA right now is watching the Golden State Warriors roll over opponents even when Stephen Curry is having a bad shooting night. They’re just that good.
Of course, what some would like to remember from their 115-94 win over the Utah Jazz is Curry hitting a midcourt three pointers just before halftime and then walking off the court. It gave the Warriors an 11-point lead to cap off a 9-0 run to finish the half. Even when he can’t make most of his shots, he makes one at a high degree of difficulty that takes out the air from the sails of their opponents. He finished with just 12 points, his second worst scoring game of the season. But he had that 3-pointer, and he had 10 assists, and the Warriors won by 21 points.
The 12 point performance came after a 13-game stretch in which Curry averaged 35.3 points per game, including 41 the last time they played. Someone had to pick up the slack right? No problem. The Warriors still shot 57.1% from the field against the sliding Jazz (winning just twice in their last 10 games). Klay Thompson didn’t have to force anything and finished with 23 points, while Draymond Green had his usual do a lot of everything games, scoring 17 points and finishing with a tremendous +30 in his 35 minutes. And that might beef up the usual argument: Who is the most important player on this team?
There’s no straight answer. Curry is the best player on the Warriors and in the NBA right now. Maybe long term, maybe just this season. Green might not be the second best scorer on this team, but he’s more important on both ends of the floor than Thompson. He’s a better passer, can play more positions and his defense on big men and ability to steal, deflect and block shots without anyone noticing him is invaluable to the Warriors.
With every game that goes by, it feels like there’s less and less to be said about this remarkable season, now 19 games from the finish. The Warriors need just 16 more wins in their next 19 to become the team with the best regular season record in NBA history. While resting players is always tempting when the #1 seed, home court advantage and all that stuff in the bag, it’s probably going to be an opportunity no one wants to miss. Steve Kerr, who played on the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls team that won 72 games and the NBA title, isn’t going to deny them the record if it’s up to him.