ATLANTA – Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he doesn’t think about the idea that he could see Atlanta in the NBA Finals.
“That’s so far away, and there are so many things that can happen,” Kerr said.
But there was nothing during the Hawks’ 124-116 win that succeeded in holding serve on their home court that made that vision a farfetched one.
The Warriors played well in spurts and were beaten. The Hawks can shoot it as advertised , giving the Warriors a dose of their own medicine. The Warriors kept fighting and afterward did a collective, figurative nod at the punch the Hawks threw in anticipation of maybe some future games to come.
“They’re the best team in the East and the best team in the league along with us,” center Andrew Bogut said. “It was always going to be a battle. We weren’t expecting to come in here and win by 20, so we know we have work to do…We’ll see them again soon.”
As part of the pre-game customary opposing coach fluff, Rick Carlisle was asked to assess the Warriors’ All-Star backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. He laid it on thick.
“We’ve never seen better shooters than these guys ever in this game,” Carlisle said, among other glowing verbal bouquets.
Unfortunately for Carlisle, his words proved prophetic. Even after Dallas had their best first quarter of the season — 42 points — and held a 22-point lead at one early juncture, 40-18, you just had a feeling this was the kind of swat in the nose that would get the Splash Brothers going.
And oh, did they splash. The Warriors made 19 of 38 3-point attempts (50 percent), and Curry and Thompson made 14 of them on just 26 tries. Curry, of course, made 10 himself and was 6-for-7 in his 26-point third quarter. He had another corner three nullified by an Andrew Bogut foul. Everything about Curry’s big night is in the game story here.
So we’ve had two third quarters for the ages in less than a month, and speaking of which, how does James Harden win NBA Player of the Month over Thompson when Thompson won Player of the Week twice, had the individual game of the season so far and the quarter for all time? Guess the league has to spread some of the love around, but really now.
The Warriors and forward James Michael McAdoo reached agreement on a second 10-day contract Monday, according to agent Jim Tanner.
McAdoo averaged 37.5 points and 13 rebounds and shot 66 percent from the field in two games for Santa Cruz in his return to the team having completed his first 10-day contract.
The 22-year-old rookie averaged 4.7 points and 1.7 rebounds in three games with the Warriors, racking up 11 points and five rebounds in 13 minutes for his NBA debut.
Hunter Pence gave the Warriors a bit of a lift Saturday night at Oracle Arena. Sitting courtside next to owner Joe Lacob, the Giants’ outfielder was introduced during a timeout in the second quarter when Golden State wasn’t going so hot.
Pence smiled widely, stood up out of his seat, waved his arms and started shouting encouragement to the crowd. They responded with a thankful roar after a decidedly flat start to the game. It was probably coincidence, but the Warriors appeared to immediately play better the rest of the half, too, then they really kicked it gear in the third quarter.
No, Pence didn’t go to the locker room for one of his R-rated motivational speeches. The Warriors had plenty of speech-making going on among themselves, according to Andre Iguodala.
“When you lose like we did last night (in Utah) then have a tough start in the first half, you have to get it right,” Iguodala said. “Draymond (Green) has done a great job being the voice and letting guys know when it gets rough, that you just have to grind it out. Defensively is where it happens to get out of a rut.”
The Warriors definitely got out their defensive rut in the second half and it helped their sputtering offense get untracked as well. More than anybody, it was Iguodala leading the way, looking more spry and dynamic than he has in recent games.
SALT LAKE CITY – Eyebrows were raised in the Warriors locker room before the game after it was learned Utah big man Enes Kanter had told reporters at shootaround that Andrew Bogut was “nothing special.”
By the time the Warriors had suffered a stunning 110-100 loss, it was Bogut who was left answering for a game in which he said he had played “horribly.”
“My rhythm and flow in this game was horrible,” said Bogut, who finished with four points and four rebounds. “Defensively, I was terrible. I couldn’t help out the team. Usually if I have a bad offensive game, I know I can help us defensively and at least control the ball. And they kicked my (behind) tonight.”
Warriors guard Stephen Curry might not have been on the winning team Tuesday, but his magical pass in the overtime loss to Chicago is something that will be remembered.
Curry in the fourth quarter had the ball in transition faked a behind-the-back pass with his left hand and then used the right for an over-the-shoulder pass to David Lee for a dunk.
That description doesn’t do it justice, so here’s Curry in describing how he actually decided to do the pass.
First off, fabulous game at Oracle Arena Tuesday night. It was a Warriors’ loss, but Chicago came to play and the Warriors did, too. Except for one guy — Andrew Bogut, who begged out after lineup introductions with flu-like symptoms.
The Warriors win this game against the Bulls with Bogut, just as they would have beaten the L.A. Clippers in the playoffs last year with Bogut. The Warriors have seven losses all year, and five of them have come with Bogut out of the lineup.
So it should be readily apparent. The Warriors are clearly destined for a great season. They only have to go 24-15 the rest of the way to achieve a franchise record 60 wins. They’ll more than likely do better than that. They’ll have to stumble badly not to have the No. 1 seed in the West.
But in the final accounting, they’re still going to need Bogut to win it all, or even go deep into the playoffs. Without him, they are eventually going to run into a big team like the Bulls and get worn down inside without a rebounder/rim protector.