The Warriors were clicking on all cylinders as they closed out 2013 with a 94-81 road win over the Magic on Tuesday. David Lee led the way with 22 points and nine rebounds as the Warriors built a big lead early en route to their sixth straight win. Kent Bazemore added 12 points to lead all Warriors reserves, who played the entire fourth quarter. The Dubs held the Magic to 38.2 percent shooting and won in Orlando for just the second time in their last 10 tries. The Warriors will look to keep the momentum rolling into the New Year, as they continue their road trip on Thursday in Miami.
On taking care of business:
“Yes. That’s what the good teams do. They handled their business. It’s a team that obviously early in the game was shorthanded, but I like the way we responded. We came with the correct mindset. A big win from beginning to end.”
On playing the reserves the entire fourth quarter:
“I think it’s important. Obviously our starters play a lot of minutes, a lot of heavy minutes. And it’s important that when we have an opportunity to take care of business that we do so. And get quality minutes for the reserves also. I thought the bench did a great job. Mo (Marreese Speights) continues to play well. I thought Kent (Bazemore) was establishing a rhythm. Draymond (Green), another game with four blocked shots and rebounding the basketball. Just a quality, quality win for us. Guys played well individually and collectively.”
On the team's defense:
“Well we’ve been this way all season long. We’ve had moments where we weren’t as effective as we’d like to be. But, when you look at the numbers, holding a team under 40, that’s the 14th time all year. Only Indiana has done it 15 times. So, we’ve got to get some recognition as far as the way that these guys defend on a high level contrary to popular belief. Awfully proud of my guys and now it’s on to the New Year and I’m looking forward to a great challenge in Miami.”
On playing 48 minutes of defense:
“It’s big. You’re going to have nights where teams make shots. We were not sharp. We were not as quick as we normally would be early in the Cleveland game, but I like the way we responded. When you talk about giving ourselves a chance to win, it was because of our defense. And tonight I thought our guys responded very well, understanding that we can’t give a young talented basketball team life. And we defended from the opening jump and really was locked in.”
On scoring in the paint:
“We’re a team that obviously what’s going to be known about us, is our great shooting ability when you have a backcourt of Steph (Stephen Curry) and Klay (Thompson). But, we’re also a team that likes to get the ball in the paint and make plays via dribble penetration, post-up, rebounds. David (Lee) is playing at high level the last 10-12 games. The David Lee that we’ve come to expect and appreciate around here and it makes a difference. It opens up a lot of things for us. We’re in a rhythm right now and we want to keep it going.”
On starters making hustle plays with a big lead:
“Well, it’s the little things. The mentality, that approach becomes contagious. We’ve got guys leading not just with their mouth, but they’re leading by example. The way that they’re competing is great to see.”
On today's game:
“One thing we know about our second group is anytime we step onto the floor, we don’t necessarily have to boost the lead but we definitely have to maintain it. The way we maintain it is with our energy level on the defensive end. When we play good on the defensive end as a second unit, then I will get a couple buckets or Mo Speights will get it going on the offensive end…Harrison will get a couple of buckets…Ken will get a couple of buckets. We feed off of our defense. I thought we brought great energy tonight coming off the bench especially with the way the starters started off the game.”
“There have been a few times this year where we (bench) couldn’t hold onto the lead and Coach had to go back to the starters. You never want that. That is when something freaky may happen and you never know. Those guys did their work and we need to let them get their rest. Tonight we were able to boost the lead a little bit which was good for us and good for the starters who could continue to get their rest. It is a long road trip so rest is going to be important.”
“This team is maturing. It is easy at any time to look forward to Miami on the schedule because everybody is gunning for Miami. When you can come into Orlando, a team who has some talent, and just hasn’t put it all together yet, and is a young team that is going to continue to grow. They popped us twice last year, and we knew we had to come in here and take this game very seriously and we were able to do that. It turned out well for us.”
On holding another opponent to less than 40% shooting:
“It is showing in our record. The last six games we are 6-0. One thing we really struggled with early was we were giving up way too many points. One thing we feel like we have are scorers, so when you get it done on the defensive end you will have a lot of games go in your favor. We are definitely locking in on the defensive end and not forgetting that that’s the end that is going to win you basketball games.”
On tonight's game:
“It was a big challenge for us to come in focused and locked into the big picture of what we are trying to do during this road trip. We wanted to get the first two and get ready for the tough task down in Miami. I feel like we are playing some good basketball right now and our defense is showing up so we are feeling pretty good right now.”
“We are just locked in (defensively), communicating, and being there for each other on the help side. We are not relying on one guy to shut down their main scorers. Our help defense and the way we have been rotating, we are on the same page right now. We need to keep that going.”
“It is a long road trip and the fact that everybody is involved with us winning tonight…Ken played amazing and made some huge plays. Mo gave us some big time minutes. We know what we get from Draymond every night so it was a huge win.”
“They (Bogut and Lee) do a great job of man handling the paint. We know that they have some big guys crashing the glass and they sacrifice their bodies in cleaning it up and getting guys in transition. Sometimes when they are holding off their guys, it is the guards responsibility to come back and get those long rebounds and in turn push transition off of that.”
“We need to bring the same intensity (vs. Miami). We feel like if we play the way we are supposed to play, we can beat everybody in this league. That is the mindset that we have and it is nice to have everybody healthy and ready to go to finish out this road trip and keep the momentum that we have.”
On tonight's game:
“You want everybody to feel like they are a part of the team. Every guy walking around the locker room has a smile on his face because it is a collective effort from everybody in blue. These past two games have been very good against two very tough teams at home. These are big wins for us.”
NEW YEAR'S BLISS
What a year 2013 has been for the Warriors, and the team will play one last game before turning the page to 2014. While the team will seek greater fortune in 2014, particularly in late spring if they have any say in the matter, they do have one last piece of business to take care of in 2013. Tuesday’s New Year’s Eve matchup in Orlando will mark the second of seven-straight road games for the Warriors, all of which will be played in Eastern Conference cities. The Dubs are riding a season-long five-game winning streak and they’ll look to keep that momentum rolling into the New Year.
LAST TIME OUT
The Warriors extended their win streak to five games after defeating the Cavaliers 108-104 in overtime in Cleveland Sunday afternoon. Stephen Curry led the team with 29 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds. David Lee added 19 points while Klay Thompson finished with 16. Draymond Green had a big game, setting career-highs in rebounds (12) and blocks (4) in 25 minutes of action. GAME RECAP
ALL TOGETHER NOW
It’s no secret that the Warriors have heightened expectations for this season, and a pretty good indicator as to whether or not this team will reach its potential in 2014 is health. Golden State is 11-2 when each of its top six players (by minutes per game) plays. Surely every team will encounter injuries over the course of an 82-game season, and the Warriors certainly struggled when Andre Iguodala injured his hamstring, but it goes without saying that a mostly healthy roster will be key in determining success. The loss of Jermaine O’Neal (right wrist injury) interrupts that continuity, but the team has been able to tread water without him and front court reinforcements can be on their way soon as Festus Ezeli continues in his recovery from right knee surgery.
MORE THAN THE NUMBERS
While statistics can usually provide a great compliment to a point you’re trying to make, they don’t always tell the full story. Case in point: Draymond Green. His individual numbers aren’t very impressive, but it wouldn’t take a basketball scholar to recognize the second-year forward’s impact. He averages 5.0 points per game, shoots less than 40 percent from the field and he grabs less than one rebound for every four minutes of game action. Yet, the Warriors’ wouldn’t be on this five-game winning streak if it wasn’t for his on-court contributions. Whether it’s taking a charge, defending a shot or making the pass, Green makes the right basketball play more often than not. On a team with elite scorers and rebounders, Green doesn’t need to fill the stat sheet, but he certainly affects the game with his hustle, energy and basketball acumen.
ORLANDO SCOUTING REPORT
In addition to playing their last game of 2013, the Magic will be closing out a six-game homestand on Tuesday. Orlando has won each of its last two games after losing five of its previous six. Six Magic players average double-digits in scoring, led by Aaron Afflalo (21.9 ppg). Afflalo, who has scored at least 20 points in each of his last six games, and Jameer Nelson give Orlando a veteran presence on an otherwise young team. The Magic are the fifth youngest team in the NBA and while they certainly have quality pieces in center Nikola Vucevic (13.8 ppg, 11.5 rpg) and Victor Oladipo (13.1ppg, 3.7 apg), they have a ways to go before to developing into a true contender.
GSW: Festus Ezeli (recovery from right knee surgery) and Jermaine O’Neal (right wrist surgery) are out.