Warriors coach Mark Jackson keeps saying he wasn’t worried about the shooting of guard Klay Thompson. His patience was rewarded Wednesday. He scored 23 points on 10 of 19 shooting to break out of his slump and lift the Warriors to a 102-93 win over the visiting Brooklyn Nets.
JACKSON: “I’ve said all along, I’m not concerned about Klay shooting. That’s like being concerned about Albert Pujols not hitting: it’s going to turn. He works too hard. It’s a gift. You don’t lose a gift. I’m glad that he shot with confidence. It’s so easy to overlook, but this guys has been defending. Steph wasn’t at 100 percent so I put Klay on Deron Williams, who is arguably the best in the business at his position. Klay did a very good job. You weren’t going to stop him, but he made him work. That shot (of Thompson’s) is a thing of beauty and its great to see him knock it down.”
(SIDENOTE: Somebody should tell Jackson that Pujols finished 40 points below his career average and with the lowest homerun total of his career. And his team did NOT make the playoffs.)
The Warriors outrebounded the Nets 43-35 to improve to 7-0 when outrebounding their opponents. Golden State’s defense held the Nets to 37.5 percent shooting after the first quarter, outscoring Brooklyn 56-36 over the second and third quarters.
Of course, the Nets were on the end of a back-to-back, having played at the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. And Brooklyn sat down small forward Gerald Wallace (rest). So the Warriors didn’t beat the best of the Nets. But they did do what they needed to do — get the victory.
A large part of that was the breakout game by Thompson.
THOMPSON: “I felt like I got my game back. It felt great. I get to build on it Friday and keep this win steak going. We’ve got to stay tough.”
The question now is did Thompson just get hot one game or is he over his shooting woes?
More on Wednesday’s victory …
MVP: David Lee
He usually gets bullied around by Brooklyn forward Kris Humphries. But Wednesday, Lee dominated the match-up. So much so, some on Twitter were calling him Kim (as in Kim Kardashian, who publicly humiliated Humphries). He finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. He was 10 of 15 shooting, including 5 of 6 (8 points) in the fourth quarter.
It was easily one of Lee’s best games of the season.
MDP: Harrison Barnes
He had been playing so well, too. You figure since the Nets held out Gerald Wallace, that would be an opening for Barnes. But he was a relative non-factor: 9 points, 5 rebounds in 28 minutes.
KEY MOMENT I: A pair of free throws by C.J. Watson gave Brooklyn a 13-point lead with 8:23 left in the first half. The game was getting away from the Warriors. But moments later, a scrambling defensive effort that led to a shot-clock violation, gave the Warriors an emotional jolt. On the other end, Lee converted sweet turn-around jumper to cut the Nets’ lead to 39-28.
Over the next five minutes, the Warriors continued the grind. They held Brooklyn to 3 of 9 shooting while piecing together a 15-6 run, started by Lee’s turnaround and capped with a layup from Barnes. Golden State went into the half down 46-41.
LEE: “Once again, guys are believing we are going to win games. When we got down in the first quarter and early in the second, we made that run and cut it down to a respectable margin at halftime. Our third quarters are always up and down this season, but we made the third quarter our best quarter.”
YEAH, WHAT HE SAID: “They’re just great shooters. You can’t make any mistakes on those guys. They got some tonight in transition and any little daylight they get they’re going to make those shots. It was bad defense by us and we’ve got to do a better job of knowing other teams’ personnel.” — Nets guard Deron Williams on Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
COACH’S CORNER: The Warriors simply got destroyed in the first quarter. The Nets finished the first quarter with 30 points, 18 of them coming in the paint — a big reason they shot 14 of 19 in the first quarter (73.7 percent).
So coach Mark Jackson made a switch. He went to a 1-2-2 zone, and it literally changed the game. Brooklyn became an outside shooting team. The effects were immediate.
In the second quarter, the Nets were 6 of 20 shooting (30 percent). Only eight of those attempts were in the paint, producing eight points.
The trend continued in the third quarter: the Nets took 20 shots in that period, 8 were in the paint (resulting in eight points). They were 3 of 8 from 3-point range but still were outscored 33-20 in the third quarter.
The Warriors’ zone switched the Nets’ offense from inside-out to outside in.Brooklyn’s starting guards, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, were 9 of 25 shooting combined. Williams’ struggles pointed to another call by Jackson. He had Klay Thompson, who is 6-foot-7, defend the dynamic Williams. Jackson said Curry, who figures to have a tough time covering the Net’s All-Star, wasn’t 100 percent after tweaking his ankle Monday in Dallas.
KEY MOMENT II: With just over three minutes left in the third quarter, a Williams’ layup put Brooklyn ahead 63-60. The Warriors inbounded the ball quickly and Curry pushed it up court, creating a semi-break. Curry, running down the left side, zipped a pass to Thompson on the right side. Thompson had nailed a baseline jumper the last possession. This time, he pulled up for three. Oracle erupted when it went in, tying the game at 63 with just over three minutes left. It was only the fourth 3-pointer he’d made in his last 23 attempts.
After another stop, Thompson found Landry cutting to the basket for a finger roll to give the Warriors their first lead of the game. A minute later, Thompson nailed another 3-pointer. Golden State was on a roll. By the end of the third quarter, the Warriors led 74-66.
TELLING STATS: The Warriors had 17 fast-break points, was 15 of 19 from the free throw line and had 24 assists on 40 baskets. Those all point to the Warriors forcing the tempo, which is their most effective style of play. And because they only forced 11 turnovers, that means they had to defensive rebound and push it.
SWAG MOMENT: At the end of the third quarter, Curry got fouled while shooting a 3-pointer from the top of the key. It went in. Curry, reveling in the energy of the moment, flashed four fingers. I guess when you’ve made 32 of your last 33 free throws, you can count your chickens before they hatch. Yes, Curry made the free throw for the first Warriors’ four-point play since Monta Ellis did it Feb. 20, 2012 vs. the Clippers.
CURRY: “Trying to get my Jamal Crawford on.”
SERIOUSLY?!: Warriors fans are feeling pretty good these days. Golden State is 7-5, with three wins over playoff teams. Calm down. Remember this: the Warriors were 7-5
last season two seasons ago under Keith Smart. No doubt, 7-5 is a good start, especially considering the injuries. But the schedule is going to get tougher, so they are hardly out of the woods.
BEFORE YOU GO: Draymond Green played another great game. He only played 14 minutes, but you felt his impact on the game. He hit a big 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter. He had four rebounds and a steal. He contested shots. He covered a lot of ground in the zone. His energy was high. He probably won’t ever be a star. But if the Warriors are successful, you know he’s going to have a hand in it somehow.
JACKSON: “I’m looking for everything from him. I don’t want to minimize him to a defensive guy. He can do everything on the court well. He has the ability to make threes, to rebound, defend and make plays. I’m shocked that he was on the board at 35.”