The Golden State Warriors ran out of steam, while the Brooklyn Nets seem to finally gaining some positive momentum, winning their fourth consecutive game despite playing without Deron Williams.
The Warriors almost became the first team in NBA history to win all 7 of their games on a road trip, but completely froze and stopped playing in the final 5 minutes of the game, helping the Nets come away with a 102-98 win.
Before we get to the Nets and their remarkable 2014 turnaround (although four games isn’t a big enough sample size), the Golden State Warriors messed this one up. Maybe Mark Jackson and Stephen Curry were angry about the Shuan Livingston no call – with 1:12 left in the game, the point guard seemed to hook Curry while spinning away from him and making the shot, also getting to the free throw line. However, it was more about the turnovers and mistakes than that specific call.
Disappointed that we did not finish it the right way. Give them credit. It was a great job by them, but we will not lose sight of the fact that we were 6-1 on this road trip. It’s a long road trip, but you can’t let that be an excuse for how the game ended. We’ve got to find a way to win.
As incredible as Curry can be sometimes with his three point shooting and his creativity of making shots (finished with 34 points), the Warriors sometimes have a problem when they’re supposed to create shots for each other. That is where the 18 turnovers come from, and it’s especially true when teams get the ball out of the hands of Andre Iguodala, who is by far the most intelligent passer and playmaker the Warriors have.
The Warriors turned the ball over 18 times during the game, 7 of them coming from Curry and 5 from David Lee, who struggled in the post against Kevin Garnett who looks a lot better while playing center, with the small lineups Kidd has been using continue to work very well, especially when Mirza Teletovic (8 points, 9 rebounds) is on the floor.
The absence of Deron Williams makes Joe Johnson the focal point of this offense. Paul Pierce seems to be running out of star-mojo, finishing with 11 points and 4 turnovers, not showing he can do much more. But Johnson is on a roll, scoring 27 points, averaging 25 in the last two games and looking like the guy who did enough to earn that mega contract he was signed to by the Atlanta Hawks.
Shaun Livingston is another major change for the Nets. The tall point guard counters some of the small-ball effects. He has no problem guarding small forwards and doing it well. Suddenly, his offense has even taken a turn for the best, finishing with 13 points and 4 steals, averaging 10.2 points over the last five games.
The Nets aren’t playing pretty basketball, but it wasn’t going to be style that gets them out of the early season funk. At 14-21, they’re 8th in the Eastern conference, which is something of a joke. It’s going to be the same kind of defense and keeping a cool head in tight endings that will keep them on the same path, although it won’t be surprising to see them regress back to where they were only two weeks ago, as the consistency on offense we’re seeing recently doesn’t seem like something that can be trusted.