In their first game back at Oracle Arena after a six-game road trip, the Warriors defeated the Atlanta Hawks 111-97 on Friday night. The reserves stepped it up and contributed 51 points. Jermaine O'Neal had another productive night with 17 points and eight rebounds, and Draymond Green added eight points, four rebounds, and five assists. David Lee led the squad with 18 points and six rebounds, while Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala finished with 13 points apiece. The team tied their season-high with 66 points in the paint which helped them earn their 22nd double-digit victory of the season. Next up for the Dubs is a Sunday showdown with the Phoenix Suns right here on Warriors Ground.
On tonight's game:
"I thought it was a great performance across the board. I thought we did a good of sending a message early. They scored more than we would like in the first quarter, but I thought that was an adjustment period for us. We battled, competed, were aggressive, attacked the painted area and we were very unselfish. Again our bench did an outstanding job. 51 points and 22 rebound from our bench says a lot. Looking ahead to three games in four nights it’s going to be important to take care of business and get a chance to relax with your key players."
On Klay Thompson:
"He was all set to start the third quarter, with a strained lower back, but I decided to get my Pop (Gregg Popovich) on so I shut him down and we look forward to him getting treatment and being ready Sunday."
On Klay Thompson's durability over the years:
"He took a bad spill and hit his head and when he was coming off of the court I thought he was done. When we got back to the locker room at halftime he looked like a different person that was fresh and ready to go. He said ‘I’m ready Coach.’ I just thought it was important for us with a guy that was so durable-we had a comfortable lead at halftime and I just felt that if we couldn’t win the game without him then we didn’t deserve to win it. Fortunately for us we took care of business."
On their overall defense after the first quarter:
"We were sharper and livelier defending the pick-and-roll and we did a good job of firing back at their shooters. They hurt us in Atlanta with their bigs ability to shoot the basketball and it makes it tough because you have to be committed. I thought after they were scoring early we made the proper adjustments."
On Draymond Green:
"Draymond (Green) is a winner. I say it again; it was unbelievable that he was available in the second round of the draft. The guy competes at a high level and can guard one through five and there is nothing on his résumé that he can’t do well. He works his tail off. He defended at a high level, rebounded, was aggressive on the offensive end and his spirit is contagious. I thought he did an outstanding job of lifting us up when he was in the ballgame. Just a big time win and a big time energy effort game from him."
On Jermaine O'Neal:
"It’s easy to forget that some are saying this is his last year. The guy has plenty left in his tank. We knew when we got him he had the ability to post-up and put pressure on the defense. It’s great to see. It’s great to see because he missed eight weeks and he’s been a leader all season long. Now it’s put a stamp on what he has been saying. They listen to his voice because he has a body of work and has a body of work in a Warrior uniform."
On this being a good "team win":
"I thought it was a really good team win for us tonight. It shows more maturity by our basketball team that we can come back the first game from a road trip which is always tough. Energy-wise I think we started out decent, not great, but we were able to make that run at the end of the first half which was huge. Then the second half we let them back in the game a little bit then we strengthened the lead back up. I was really proud of our guys tonight and once again the bench provided a great boost and we were able to rest in the fourth quarter so it was a good win for us."
On the importance of the first home game after a road trip:
"Absolutely, because we came back from a great road trip earlier on in the season and had a bunch of home games, and didn’t do as well as we wanted to do. A team like Atlanta hasn’t been playing great ball on the road but if you let them hang in they have enough scoring to beat people so we were fortunate enough tonight to take care of business, keep a lead the whole game, and put them away when we needed to."
On the second unit bringing energy off the bench:
"We had to bring some energy. I think our first unit got off to a very good start and then we kind of got off to a slow start in the third quarter. As a bench unit that’s our job, to bring some energy to the floor, fly around. One thing we said on the bench was when we get in there we need to fly around and create some turnovers. We were able to do that and it kind of changed the game for us."
On the second unit developing chemistry:
"Just playing together we’re getting more and more comfortable with each other. I know if I drive where someone is at. I know if I drive where JO (Jermaine O’Neal) is at. I know if I drive, somebody is in the corner. Steve [Blake] knows if he comes off the pick-and-roll where I’m going to be. JC (Jordan Crawford) is coming into the game and scoring. We’re getting more and more familiar with each other. Harrison [Barnes] has become more and more solid for us. We’re finally starting to put it together. We have a full healthy squad and we get to gel together a little bit more and that’s become key for us."
On the importance of the upcoming week of home games:
"Very important. It would be great to go 3-0 in that stretch but it’s going to be a tough stretch. I feel like if we continue to get better, continue to gel together, we are capable of beating anybody."
On being more effective as he has gotten healthier:
"I’m getting healthy now. I don’t think a lot of people knew that I tore a ligament in my wrist the first couple of weeks of the season and tried to play through it. As the season progressed in the first half of the season, it got worse, so I found myself running from the ball because I didn’t want to hurt the team. Now that I’m healthy, starting to get better and better, I’m running to the ball. Everybody talks about the fountain of youth but basketball doesn’t change. You might not be able to run as fast, jump as high anymore, but the same techniques of playing basketball always stay the same and I try to use some of my knowledge against some of these younger guys and it’s been working so far."
On the importance of defense:
"They got some easy baskets early. The first game back from a long road trip is always the toughest and we knew that coming in. This team was here waiting on us. They played with a lot of energy in the first half and we didn’t really match it. We’re not a team with excuses. We’ve got to come out here and get our job done. All in all I think we’re doing a great job of understanding who we are. We are a defensive-minded team. We’ve got guys that can score the basketball but I don’t want anybody to be fooled; we are a defensive-minded team and if we’re going to win it all, that’s what’s going to help us win it all."
On moving forward to Sunday's game against Phoenix:
"Phoenix is playing great basketball. They’re trying to knock on our door for that sixth spot. They play with great speed, they play together, they shoot a lot of threes. We’re going to try to slow those guys down and put them in a difficult situation on the defensive end, and on the offensive end we’re going to look to score the basketball."
Riding the momentum of a 4-2 road trip, the Warriors return home and will begin a stretch of nine of 11 games at Oracle Arena on Friday when they host the Hawks. This will be this season’s second and final game against Atlanta this season, and the Warriors will be looking to come through with the season sweep after stealing a win on the road with Andre Iguodala’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer on January 3. The Friday night homecoming marks another Authentic Fan Friday, and all fans in attendance will receive a David Lee Cheer Card. In addition, the Warriors will celebrate Filipino Heritage Night at Oracle Arena with special menu options at the concession stand at Section 218 and cultural performances throughout the evening. GET TICKETS
LAST TIME OUT
The Warriors led from start to finish and dominated their way to a 108-88 win in Boston on Wednesday. Playing the back end of a back-to-back at the end of a six-game Eastern Conference road trip, the Warriors led by as many as 31 points and held the Celtics to 39.5 percent shooting. David Lee had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Klay Thompson had 18 points and Stephen Curry logged 14 points on a night that saw all the starters rest during the entire fourth quarter. GAME RECAP
KLAY EXPANDING HIS GAME
One of the encouraging signs from the recent road trip was Klay Thompson asserting himself on the offensive end. Although he’s built a reputation as an outstanding outside shooter, Thompson made a concerted effort to take the ball to the basket over the last six games. Being that he ranks second in the NBA in made 3-pointers this season, opponents tend to run out on Thompson on drive-and-kicks, and rightfully so. However, that allows Thompson to put the ball on the floor and take the ball toward the basket. He has improved his ability to finish at the rim – just ask Kyle Singler – and he can also stop on a dime and sink a shot in the paint with his feathery touch. The more Thompson expands his game, the more dangerous the Warriors become.
SET UP FOR SUCCESS
At 38-24, the Warriors are a season-high 14 games over .500. It’s the first time since the end of the 2007-08 season that the Dubs have reached that mark and they got there by winning 14 of their last 19 games on the road. Now the Warriors need to find a way to match that success on their home court. Of the 20 regular season games left in the 2013-14 campaign, 13 are at Oracle Arena, and nine of those opponents currently have .500 records or less. More important than who or where they are playing, the Warriors will focus more on how they’re playing. Currently in sixth place in the Western Conference, the team is four games away from the Pacific Division leading Clippers, four and a half games from the fifth-place Trail Blazers and three games ahead of the Grizzlies, who at the moment are the first team not in the playoff picture. Winners of seven of nine since the All-Star Break, the Warriors are certainly trending in the right direction to boost their position in terms of playoff seeding, but it’s up to them to finish strong over these last 20 games.
ATLANTA SCOUTING REPORT
The Hawks have struggled mightily as of late and will enter Warriors Ground as losers of 12 of their last 13 games. Entering February, Atlanta had a winning record and was in prime position to make the playoffs, but that has suddenly changed, and it’s not too difficult to figure out why. Injuries have certainly caught up to the team. Their best player, Al Horford, hasn’t played since late December and is out for the season, and their second-leading scorer, Paul Millsap, has missed the last five games with a right knee injury. Despite missing two of their marquee players, the Hawks can still be a dangerous team. They have scored 100-plus points in five of their last six games, and point guard Jeff Teague is quite capable of putting up big numbers. Speaking of big numbers, Kyle Korver’s streak of 127-straight games with at least one made 3-pointer – and NBA record – came to an end on Wednesday, and he’ll look to get back on track as the team plays their fourth of six-straight games on the road. The Warriors, meanwhile, will look to take advantage of a road-weary team and avoid the ever-present trap of a first home game after an extended road trip.
GSW: Festus Ezeli (recovery from right knee surgery) and Nemanja Nedovic (left hamstring strain/right foot inflammation) are out.
ATL: Gustavo Ayon (right shoulder surgery), Al Horford (right pectoral muscle surgery), John Jenkins (lower back surgery) and Paul Millsap (right knee contusion) are out.