Warriors Shoot the Lights out, Beat Magic 133-112
For the second game of their road trip, the Golden State Warriors (16-6) flew to Orlando to take on the Magic (9-13). The Warriors were coming off an overtime win over the Los Angeles Lakers, while the Magic beat the Thunder to snap a 9-game losing streak in their last outing. Both of these teams are some of the best shooting teams in the league, but the Warriors were extremely banged up. Stephen Curry was still dealing with a right hand contusion, Kevin Durant was still dealing with a sprained ankle, and Klay Thompson hurt his ankle in their last game. All three of those players would be playing, and the only absence from the Warriors would be Andre Iguodala, who was resting after playing 35 minutes against the Lakers on Wednesday. The Warriors would go on to win 133-112.
The Warriors came out in the first quarter and brought their A-game. The Warriors shot the ball at a 75% clip, which included going 50% from three point range. Stephen Curry’s finger no longer appeared to be an issue, as he scored 13 points on 5-8 shooting, which led the Warriors. Kevin Durant was close behind with 12 points on 5-7 shooting, while also picking up three blocks. The Magic kept it as close as possible, shooting 52% from the field, and made five threes. The Warriors played spectacular defense throughout the whole quarter, and blocked six shots. After the first, the Warriors led 41-34.
The second quarter was a continuation of the Warriors’ offensive explosion, and they had their best offensive half of the year. The Warriors’ shooting percentage did dip a little, as you would expect, but they still ended the half shooting 68% from the field, and 64.3% from deep. The Magic showed that they weren’t going down without a fight, finishing the half shooting 51%. The Warriors could have had an even better half scoring the ball, but they did commit 10 turnovers. The Warriors were able to offset their turnovers with stellar defense, stealing the ball five times, and blocking eight shots. At the half, KD led all scorers, with 19 points, but also had five assists and four blocks. Steph was close behind with 17 points (and went 3-6 from deep), and grabbed four rebounds, dished out seven assists, and picked up two steals. Pat McCaw also was great in the first half, putting up eight points on 3-3 shooting, while making nice hustle plays all over the court. At the half, the Warriors led the Magic 78-63.
The Warriors did see their lead shrink in the third quarter, but that was more due to the Magic continuing to shoot the ball extremely well. The Magic’s FG% through three quarters was 46.8%, while the Warriors continued to shoot the lights out at 62.7%. The Warriors started the quarter off a little slow, but were able to pick it up towards the end of the period. After three quarters, KD and Steph led the Warriors with 23 points each, while Klay added 15, and Draymond also had 10 points. The Magic’s leading scorer was Aaron Gordon, who had 27 points, 15 of which came on threes. After three quarters, the Warriors led 102-91.
The fourth quarter saw the Warriors continue to shoot the lights out, and in this quarter, it was on the back of Klay Thompson. Klay finished with 27 points on 11-14 shooting. The fourth quarter was full of fun plays, which included several lobs thrown to Jordan Bell, who should never ever be inactive again. Six Warriors had double digit scoring numbers, including Jordan Bell, who had a career-high 16 points on 8-10 shooting, while also blocking four shots. Midway through the fourth quarter, Kevin Durant was ejected for yelling at Scott Foster, who notoriously dislikes the Warriors. I don’t have much to say about the ejection, especially because KD said what all Warriors fans have wanted to say to Scott Foster for years now. The Warriors finished the game shooting 62.5% and won 133-112.
The Warriors dished out a season-high 46 assists against the Magic, and many of those assists were remarkable cross-court passes to open shooters on the perimeter and to the high-flying rookie, Jordan Bell. Jordan Bell threw down several incredible alley-oops and had an incredible game. His mentor, Draymond Green, was also remarkable, finishing with 12 points and 10 assists, while boasting a game-high +/- of 34.
Klay Thompson led the Warriors in scoring after a very productive fourth quarter, and he finished with 27 points on 11-14 shooting. He was closely trailed by Kevin Durant, who finished with 25 points, and Stephen Curry, who had 23. As a team, the Warriors shot the ball at a 62.5% clip, and were 50% from three.
The Magic played a very good game as well, the only reason they lost was because they ran into the Warriors on the one night where they decided to play their best 48 minutes of the season. The Magic shot 45.8% as a team, including 39.3% from three. Aaron Gordon led the team in scoring with 29 points while knocking down five threes. Evan Fournier also had a good game for the magic, scoring 22 points.
I really enjoyed this game from start to finish, and don’t really have anything to take away from it, at least on the Warriors front. I thought that the Magic continued to play surprisingly well, and I was astounded by the transformation Aaron Gordon has made to become a prolific jump shooter. Gordon had never shot above 30% in his previous three NBA seasons, and this year he has shot 43.8% through 21 games. The work he has done to turn into a jump shooter is incredible, and should give every poor 3-point shooter hope that they can become great. Imagine if Russell West...actually I am not going to ruin a splendid evening by allowing Russell Westbrook to creep into my thoughts.
The Warrior play their next game on Sunday, December 3, in Miami against the Heat at 4 p.m.