The Golden State Warriors can win when Stephen Curry isn’t playing well. They’re very good besides they’re exceptional MVP, especially when Draymond Green (unlike in the previous game) is free to influence the game with his intelligence and aggressiveness, seasoned with a little bit of illegal screens.
Well, not a little, a lot. Green does it all the time. He’s not the only player in the NBA who does it, and isn’t the only one who gets away with, but just like the Grayson Allen tripping thing which started with one innocent leg reach and has turned into a plague referees and the NCAA now openly ignore, it’s getting a little bit out of hand. Just like in the win against the Miami Heat with that screen set on Luol Deng, or in the 109-104 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves, although on that particular play the Warriors didn’t get anything from ti.
Green might simply be wise enough to take advantage of something he knows NBA referees don’t call very often. But these things gain traction, and at some point, especially in the playoffs when everything if magnified and intensified, the officials are going to get some directive down from the league that instructs them to pay attention. This doesn’t make the Warriors any less likely to win a championship, but maybe it’s more difficult making Curry amazing when you’re not allowed to get away with minor cheating.
In terms of basketball going into the hoop and moving around, Green does it very well almost every night. He put the loss to to the Spurs behind him and the nightmare of being guarded by Kawhi Leonard behind him as well. Curry shot just 6-of-17 from the field in the win over the Timberwolves which creates his worst stretch this season over two games. But he still had 19 points, 7 rebounds and 11 assists. Green finished with 24 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists on 10-of-13 shooting. The Warriors were still playing without Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala.
Is their record breaking pace in danger? One thing that comes to mind is that Curry has shot so poorly these last two games (3-of-21 combined from three) not just because of the different defensive looks he has gotten, but also from being fatigued or burnt out. While Iguodala isn’t playing, it might be too risky to sit Curry for one game or two because that gives Golden State just one playmaker in Green. But maybe chasing the record has left him, Klay Thompson and others on the team running a little bit on empty heading into the home stretch of the regular season.
Every Time it feels like the Warriors might be slipping a little bit they come back stronger and better. It just might be the case this time, and anyway, it doesn’t hurt relying on Green from time to time to carry the team. But who knows, and the toll and cost of making this record breaking season could be hitting the Warriors now of all times and places, which means they need to think long and hard about going for it or starting to rest players a little bit, while the San Antonio Spurs shoot themselves in the foot.