Some calls might have gone their way, but the Golden State Warriors were still deserved winners in an enjoyable visit to Portland, beating the Trail Blazers 95-90. The duo of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry aren’t the only good thing about this team, but they seem to be the vanguard and obviously taking up most of the focus through an undefeated three-game start on what looks like the best team in the league since the season began.
Thompson keeps his scoring streak going, finishing with 29 points and making two big shots in the fourth, including a dunk over Robin Lopez to give the Warriors the lead, before helping out on defense as a bad inbound pass from Nicolas Batum was turned over with the Blazers’ final attempt to tie the game, leading to some free throws and clinching the win for the Warriors, overcoming turnovers and not so brilliant shooting to stay perfect.
Stephen Curry added 21 to make it 50 from the best backcourt in the NBA. The duo combined to make 17 field goals The rest of the Warriors? 19. Curry had a bad shooting game: Only 6-of-18 from the field and 1-of-5 from beyond the arc. But he wasn’t the most damaging point guard on the floor, with Damian Lillard simply not getting his mid range shots to drop, finishing with just 4-of-18 from the field and 1-of-7 from beyond the arc. Both teams are trying to become less reliant on shooting form and more on doing the right things on offense. The Warriors are doing a better job of it at the moment.
It’s part of the Steve Kerr transformation. He isn’t running with just one thing that works. Right now Harrison Barnes is in the lineup next to Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut, meaning Andre Iguodala comes off the bench to play point-forward with the second unit, at least to start. But this team is no longer depending solely on the shooting day Curry seems to have, although not all the problems from the Mark Jackson era have disappeared.
The Warriors turned the ball over 17 times. They were aggressive enough on defense to force 19 turnovers from the confused Blazers, getting a good shooting night from LaMarcus Aldridge, scoring 26 points. Wesley Matthews helped with 18 points, but the Blazers shot only 40.2% from the field and excluding the duo it was barely above 35%. With so many turnovers and against such a well rounded team, it’s impossible to win that way.
Once David Lee returns, the Warriors will be completely fit and ready to showcase their abilities to their full extent. Maybe the theories about the team being better when Lee isn’t playing will turn out to be true, but for now, any thought of this team actually getting better than they actually are with Thompson in such sizzling form is a bit scary for the rest of the Western conference, possibly not so obvious as it was last year when it comes to the identity of its winner.