Warriors Bounce Back after Losing Two Straight, Win 121-103
After losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night for their third loss in the last four games, the Golden State Warriors (41-13) were looking to right the ship and take their frustrations out on the Dallas Mavericks (17-37). The Dallas Mavericks are tied with the Atlanta Hawks for the worst record in the NBA, and were 2-8 in their last 10 games. The game had the potential to be a perfect rebound for the Warriors, but also the potential to an embarrassing loss. The last time the two teams met, the game was decided on a last-second game-winning three from Stephen Curry, and the Warriors would be doing their best to blow the Mavericks out of the water. The Warriors went on to win the game 121-103.
In the first quarter, the Warriors came out flat, as is standard these days. They played some atrocious defense, and allowed for a team that has not scored more than 100 points in the last six games to put up 33 points in a quarter. Now, their defense wasn’t the only reason for that, the other reason was that they turned the ball over five times. As a team, the Mavericks shot the ball 51.9% in the first quarter, and took eight more shots than the Warriors. As a team, the Warriors shot 42.1% overall, and the offense looked incredibly stagnant. The leading scorer for the Mavericks was Dennis Smith Jr., who had 10 points. Stephen Curry led the Warriors with eight points, six of which came on back-to-back threes. It was a very slow, boring quarter for the Warriors, and they looked very uninspired and at times, timid. After the first, the Mavericks led 33-23.
The Warriors slow start continued into the second quarter, and outside of David West, the entire team looked very uninterested until Draymond Green picked up his 14th technical foul of the season. He then picked up a technical foul, for something that seemed pretty insignificant, but it woke the Warriors up. After the foul, they went on a run to tie the game and were scoring at will. Of course, there was still plenty that wasn’t great about the way they were playing during that time, the most frustrating part being that you couldn’t pay Andre Iguodala to take an open jumpshot right now. There were several nice plays though, one of which saw KD block a three, then Steph caught the ball and did his best Jimmy G impression and threw a pass across the entire court to a streaking Draymond for a dunk. Kevin Durant woke up in the second quarter. After taking just two shots in the first, KD scored 11 points in the third. He hit a nice three, and he also threw down a couple nice dunks. Stephen Curry led the Warriors in scoring with 12 points, and he hit a nice three down the stretch of the third quarter off an assist by Andre Iguodala where he held the ball while wide-open on the three point line for approximately 10 seconds. As a team, the Warriors were shooting 57.5% from the field, but they were also shooting just 30.8% from three. The Mavericks were shooting 46.9% in the half. Dennis Smith Jr. was their leading scorer with 15 points, and Dwight Powell was close behind with 13 of his own. Dirk Nowitzki and Wesley Matthews both had 12 points as well. The Warriors did manage to cut down on turnovers in the second quarter, and they finished the half with eight. At halftime, the Warriors were tied with the Mavericks, 60-60.
In the third quarter, the Warriors looked much more like themselves. Durant got scorching hot, and by the time the quarter ended, he had 24 points. He hit a three on the last Warriors possession of the quarter that was just filthy. Steph also had a very nice quarter, and was well on his way to a triple-double. He had 20 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds. He hit a couple nice threes as well as an incredible layup. Patrick McCaw looked like himself from last year, which was a nice sign. He was being aggressive and was trying to create his own shot. The Mavericks were still being led by Dennis Smith Jr., who finished the quarter with 22 points. At the end of the third, the Warriors led 93-85.
The fourth quarter was garbage time for almost its’ entirety, which was a welcome sight. That phenomenon has not happened to the Warriors often recently, but it was nice to see. During the quarter, I really liked what I saw. Andre Iguodala took and made an open three, for the first time in what feels like an eternity. Shaun Livingston was running the floor with authority and looked really good in transition with David West. West was also very good throughout the whole game, and looked determined to make sure the Warriors got out of the game with a win. Patrick McCaw also looked good in the fourth quarter, and was driving to the hoop with authority and aggression. He looked like himself again. Nick Young made a couple three's in the quarter, and finished the game with six points. The Warriors won the game 121-103.
While the Warriors did start this game slow, I did feel like their play got better as the game went on. They had more than 30 assists for the first time in five games, which was a great sign. As the game went on, and specifically in the third quarter, it felt like the Warriors were playing like themselves again. They made the Mavericks score less points with each passing quarter, and Draymond and KD looked much more engaged on defense than they have at any point in the last week. In the second half, they shot the ball a lot better from beyond the arc as well, which was great because they had been struggling with that. They turned the ball over 16 times, and when they turn the ball over less than 16 times, they are 31-3.
Kevin Durant led the Warriors in scoring with 24 points on just 13 shots, which is a testament to how dominant and efficient he can be. Stephen Curry was close behind with 20 points of his own, dished out eight assists, and grabbed seven rebounds. Klay Thompson celebrated his birthday with 18 points on 8/15 shooting. Draymond Green had nice, well rounded game. He finished with 10 points, on 4/17 shooting, 10 rebounds, six assists, two blocks, and two steals. David West had another great game off the bench, finishing with 10 points on 4/6 shooting, while also grabbing seven rebounds.
There wasn’t much to take away from this game, because the Warriors should have won this game, as the Mavericks are the worst team in the West. They did look more like themselves as the game progressed, and the true test of this season will be whether or not the team can overcome its’ lethargy in the first quarter.
The Warriors play next on Saturday, February 10, at home against the San Antonio Spurs at 5:30 p.m.