The Warriors took care of business on Wednesday night in Sacramento, picking up a 101-92 win in the first game after the All-Star Break. After letting a 15-point lead slip away, the Warriors stepped it up in the fourth quarter and held the Kings to 26.7 percent shooting in the final period. David Lee led the Dubs with 23 points and 11 rebounds and Klay Thompson added 18 points and five assists. The Warriors had 26 assists on 39 made baskets while issuing just seven turnovers. NBA All-Star Stephen Curry had 13 points and eight assists in the win and Draymond Green came through with 12 points and eight boards off the bench for the Warriors, who will return to action on Thursday when they host the Rockets on Social Media Night at Oracle Arena.
On tonight's game:
“I love the way my guys responded. Took care of the basketball on the road which is a huge step especially in us trying to get better but I thought we really showed a lot of guts. They bounced back. They took the lead. We responded, just a total team effort.”
On the Steve Blake trade:
“We’re getting a heck of a basketball player. Big-time competitor, a guy that can play the one and the two, an experienced guy who’s not afraid of the moment, a true professional and a guy that can make big shots. We’re very fortunate to be able to add him to this basketball team, excited to have him. With that being said I want to thank MarShon (Brooks) for the way he conducted himself. Being here he was a true professional and I want to especially thank Kent (Bazemore). He invested in this basketball team, gave his heart and soul and makes it tough to make trades but this is a business. He’s a guy that I’m pulling for, got a lot of love, respect and appreciation for him and he’s going to do some great things in this league.”
On winning when shots aren't falling:
“One of our points of emphasis we talked about was keeping turnovers down and that’s what we did. We kept it to seven turnovers and that’s how we’ve got to do it. We don’t turn the ball over even though we got outrebounded and our shots don’t go in, we have a chance to win.”
On the Steve Blake trade:
“There’s two parts to it. Steve Blake I think is going to help our team a whole lot. He’s a guy that can defend. He can do some of the things that Jarrett Jack did last year. We can allow Steph (Curry) play off the ball and not have to handle the ball for 48 minutes as well as boost our second unit. The other part of it is we’re really sad to lose Kent. He’s been with us and been an unbelievable teammate. However I think he’s going to have a tremendous chance in L.A. to get some minutes to play under a coach who does great things with point guards so I’m excited for him to have the opportunity and I think he’s going to do a great job. So while we’re sad to lose him, I’m excited for the opportunity that he has.”
On forcing turnovers:
“We just wanted to establish our defensive presence tonight especially with (Andrew) Bogut being out. Like I was saying earlier we can’t rely on him to be our insurance when we get beat on the perimeter and we don’t have the right coverage. Our communication was awesome tonight. We were talking in the game and that’s the biggest thing with the perimeter guys. Being and to communicate with one another, defensive principles.”
NO SLOWING DOWN NOW
Wednesday’s matchup in Sacramento marks the beginning of the unofficial second half of the season for both the Warriors and the Kings, and both sides have plenty left to play for. This will be the third of four matchups this season between the two teams, with Golden State having won the first two encounters, including a thrilling 115-113 victory in Sacramento on December 1. These NorCal rivals always seem to keep it close, and with both teams looking to get started off on the right foot down the backstretch of the season, this game has plenty of potential to be another barnburner.
While the vast majority of the Warriors’ players will be well rested come tipoff on Wednesday, both Stephen Curry and Harrison Barnes were quite busy during the All-Star break after competing at several events at All-Star Weekend in New Orleans. First, Barnes helped lead Team Hill to a 142-136 victory over Team Webber in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night with 16 points in 24 minutes. The following night, Curry and Barnes put their skills on display on NBA All-Star Saturday night, but unfortunately the duo combined to go 0-for-3 in their respective competitions, which included the Shooting Stars, Three-Point, and Slam Dunk contests. Finally, in his much-anticipated and long-awaited All-Star start, Curry notched a double-double in the 63rd NBA All-Star game with 12 points and 11 assists in a 163-155 loss to the East. Although it wasn’t necessarily the most successful sequence of events for Curry and Barnes at All-Star Weekend, the much more important point to focus on is that they were indeed there. To have two players participate in such a multitude of events just goes to show how far the Warriors have come, and points to how far they could and might go. FULL ALL-STAR DETAILS
SO, NOW WHAT?
That’s the question, isn’t it? At 31-22, the Warriors sit at a respectable nine games above .500, and in fact are one game ahead of their pace from a season ago. However, with arguably the best starting five in the entire league, it isn’t unreasonable to think that the team has failed to meet expectations, however high or unrealistic they may be. All things considered, the team has performed quite well on the road, having accumulated the fourth-most wins in the conference away from the friendly confines of their home arena. The problem actually lies within those supposedly “friendly” confines. The Warriors are just 16-10 at home thus far this season, and have suffered some disappointing losses at Oracle in the last few weeks. In order for the Dubs to reach the heights that many expect them to, they’ll need to start taking care of business at home, while not losing a step on the road. To be a premiere team, you must ensure that your home court is a hostile and tough environment for opposing teams to come in to. #DubNation will always make Oracle a raucous place to play. The players on the court must match their fan base’s consistent intensity.
SACRAMENTO SCOUTING REPORT
The ingredients are there for Sacramento to turn things around. It just may take a little bit longer than expected before the cake is ready to be taken out of the oven. At 18-35, the Kings are currently tied for the worst record in the Western Conference, and at this point seem destined for another trip to the lottery. However, it’s not for a lack of talent. DeMarcus Cousins has proven himself one of the premiere big men in the entire league, and he may be extra motivated after being snubbed from the All-Star game. Combine him with young studs like Isaiah Thomas and Ben McLemore, as well as recent acquisition Rudy Gay, and it’s not hard to see why success may not be too far down the line. They always get up for games against their NorCal rivals, so the Warriors better be ready. This is an important game to begin the post-break run, and a road victory could be just what Golden State needs to get rolling towards the postseason.
GSW: Andrew Bogut (left shoulder inflammation) and Jermaine O’Neal (right wrist inflammation) are to be determined. Festus Ezeli (recovery from right knee surgery) and Nemanja Nedovic (left hamstring strain/right foot inflammation) are out.