Whether or not the Golden State Warriors care about the criticism, exposure and jokes doesn’t matter. They needed a big win, and a Stephen Curry 3-point barrage did the trick, hopefully setting the path for more comfortable wins down the road, and much better basketball.
The Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers 127-104, and suddenly it’s a lot easier to forget they lost by 29 points to open the season. It’s their third win in a row and the first convincing one. They held the Blazers to 98.8 offensive rating, forced 18 turnovers and did an excellent job on the boards, winning 21.2% of the possible offensive rebounds. The Warriors defense is just as important as everything else, and getting that to work will be the basis for repeating last year’s regular season success.
But to ease their own mind, the offense needed to click as soon as possible. So shooting 56.2% from the field did the job. Klay Thompson didn’t shoot well (6-for-17 from the field), but aside from him, everyone was scorching. Even Ian Clark, with 8-for-8 from the field and 22 points off the bench, most of it coming in the first half, when the game was still close. Kevin Durant scored 20 points and didn’t try to force himself on the game. Draymond Green might not be happy with taking just 3 shots, but he grabbed 8 rebounds and 9 assists. For now he seems happy with his changing role, or with the possibility of someone else stepping up each night.
But the big news here was Curry. Not his 28 points, but him going off in the third. Of all the things the Warriors did better than everyone last season, it was Curry’s unique ability to go on these inexplicable scoring runs that didn’t just defy belief, it was what made the Warriors truly extraordinary, and seemed to put Curry on the same level with the greatest players of all-time. Obviously, it’s too soon to make those comparisons, and his playoff record along with the number of truly dominant seasons he’s had suggests he’s not there yet. Right now, the Warriors getting these moments of god-mode shooting from him gives them that swagger of being able to erase any lead and escape any jam.
In this case, it was Curry scoring 23 points in the third. He hit all of his three pointers (five) in that quarter, finishing with 7-for-11 from the field in that period, as the Warriors outscored Portland 41-20. The game was close when the second half began, but Curry made it a garbage time kind of finish, without really standing out the rest of the game.
The Warriors need more fluidity in their offense. The ball gets stuck too many times. Maybe they’re trying too much to give up on shots and make someone else feel good. It’s part of getting a new part in the system to gel with something everyone were comfortable with. Despite the criticism and actually being weaker in certain aspects, it’s hard to believe this is the last blowout we’ll see from the Warriors, who now have to think about hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder and a furious Russell Westbrook.