Even if it wasn’t as historic as his 52-point night, Klay Thompson still fought through a grinder of a game and scored 31.
This was a game the Warriors would have lost last year. They didn’t know how to grind through an uninspired night. Remember Charlotte? Remember Minnesota? Remember Cleveland, before they brought back LeBron? The Warriors lost 14 games at Oracle Arena last season under Mark Jackson and half of those losses were to lightweights.
Golden State’s meeting with Boston Sunday very easily could have been one of those kinds of trap games. A hangover seemed imminent following the extreme emotion expended during Klay Thompson’s miraculous 37-point quarter and 52-point game Friday night against Sacramento. The Warriors didn’t even practice Saturday. With a 5 p.m. start, they also skipped their morning shootaround Sunday.
The Celtics, meanwhile, came into Oracle bolstered by road wins at Denver and Portland despite their 15-26 overall record. And they played pretty well.
But the Warriors somehow found a way to grind out yet another victory, their 36th in 42 games and 19th in a row at home. They’re that good now, even when they’re not that good on a given day.
“We’re going to start getting some closer games against some tough teams,” said Andrew Bogut. “The next game (against Chicago on Tuesday) is going to be very tough at home. Getting ready for the playoffs, we have to get used to executing under pressure. Tonight we didn’t do a good job of that, especially late. These kinds of games help us address some things now, so it’s kind of a good thing.”
In other words, it was a bit of a wakeup call that didn’t require losing to be shaken a bit. As sluggish and unemotional as the performance was, the Warriors led the entire way. Coach Steve Kerr called it “workmanlike” and wasn’t distressed at all. He knows as a former player that these are the “dog days” right before the All-Star break and it’s tough to be fired up for a losing team with limited weaponry.
So in that respect, the win was impressive. Here’s the game story providing more details of the Warriors’ grind-it-out win, as well as Tim Kawakami’s column on how the Warriors are trying to fight complacency as they win game after game.
Not a night anyone will remember forever, but one that should be remembered as it relates to even last year, when the Warriors weren’t as capable to succeed on an off night.