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Game 35 rewind: Warriors wake up in time to remain perfect on road trip

The Warriors and I had something in common on Friday. We both missed our alarm clock. Mine didn’t go off in the morning, I overslept by an hour and had to book to make my flight from Miami to Atlanta. The Warriors also missed their alarm. For three and a half quarters, it looked like they might still mentally be in Miami.

Despite a great early start — they hit seven of their first eight shots — the Warriors quickly fell asleep and starting digging a deep hole. Luckily, the Hawks weren’t exactly lighting it up either, but the game was slowly slipping out of hand. When Atlanta led by 15 with 6:48 to go, I began drafting the story of the Warriors’ winning streak ending in an almost expected fashion — losing to the Hawks on a back-to-back fresh off the emotional win.

Then the Warriors showed why they have potential to be great. Great teams win back-to-backs even after high-energy victories like the one in South Beach. Great teams go on double-digit win streaks, which the Warriors are now just two wins away from. Great teams win games when there’s no reason to believe they should. Are the Warriors great? Time will tell, but they have that potential.

Andre Iguodala, the subject of my off day story that will hit the web later today, continued to show why he was such a great pickup. The guy spent 34 minutes guarding LeBron James the night before, did almost nothing for three quarters, then came up big when it mattered most. It wasn’t just the 3-pointer to win. He had the steal to set up the layup that gave the Warriors the brief 96-95 lead.

The bench played a lot in this game, and not particularly well. I know there was some hand-wringing from folks about the squad that was out on the court for a lot of the game. But on a long trip like this, especially when you hit your first back-to-back, you need games like that. You need to let the bench get their minutes and hope they don’t let the game slip out of control. In all honesty, it looked like they had let the game slip away. Although when Atlanta pushed the lead to 15, the Warriors had their starters in.

But Golden State took the mindset of getting one stop at a time — I mean, that’s all you can do really — and finally started pestering the Hawks. They had to play a near-perfect final 6:48 and that’s what they did and got the big reward, thanks to Iguodala.

At 4-0 on the trip, the Warriors are near the point of playing with house money. A 5-2 trip was what I thought was the minimum they’d like to go and at this point they can achieve that with just one win in the final three games. Of course, matching the 6-1 trip from last year would be great and considering the opponents left (Washington, Milwaukee, Brooklyn), 7-0 is in play. Brooklyn is playing better now and that’s the final game before heading home and on a back-to-back, so that one looks like a tough one. But the Warriors should be Washington and Milwaukee. If they do, they’ll have a chance to be the first team to ever go undefeated on a 7-game road trip.

I’ll catch up with you in DC, my last stop on this trip before Carl Steward joins the team in Milwaukee. I believe he flies in there Monday, where the forcasted high is minus-12. Enjoy Carl!

Jimmy Durkin

I cover mostly San Jose State football for the San Jose Mercury News/Bay Area News Group, but also fill in from time to time with the 49ers, Warriors and A's.

  • Stan

    Iguana man comes through again. Curry does his insane shooting when it counts.
    This team was just sleepwalking two weeks ago. They woke up!

  • k [20]

    the bench gets a lot of flack about not being productive, but the coaching staff needs to find a way for them to run some plays rather than handing the ball to harrison on the wing and hoping that he can back his way into a bucket. if they can figure out a way for the bench to create and run some plays, the starters will have a much easier time winning games.

    you could see that the starters were winded, especially curry. its really nice when klay can hold up his end of the burden. he got the warriors started and helped them hang tight in the first half. then lee jumped in and of course the amazing curry put his touch on the game.

    had it not been for a couple of late turnovers and fatigue, curry could have won the game much earlier.

  • Stan

    David Lee. He almost gave his life for the team three years ago. Nice to see he’s shut up the nattering nay saying negative nabobs of negativism. And the nay boobs too.

  • Howard Benner

    That would be the case it they had a representative backup point guard. . .Andre Miller, who unless other interested teams drive up his asking price or Kyle Lowery of the Raptors, who would be a good fit for the W’s system (but is on the books for 8.4 mil this year & about the same next year) & has both started & come off the bench (again the Raptors want a king’s ransom for his services) would seem to be the best fits. Sure wish they had considered D.J. Augustin when he became available. He’s only making $650,000 this year & seems to be competent in the absence of Derrick Rose in Chitown. . .he plays well in an up tempo system. . .

  • Commish

    Funny lead-in Jimmy. Haha. While everyone remains impressed, as do I, the turnovers and lack of bench productivity, except for the sterling quarter against Atlanta, remains problematic. I’m hoping Bob Meyer will make something magical happen with Andre Miller or Stuckley before the trade deadline. Well, sooner than that. I’m not sure how the trade exception can be used to help us, but the brass might be able to use it to help us. Or, as Lacob promised, go into the luxury tax category to get what we need to go deep into the playoffs this year.