(Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images)
The Weekly Dish
by Brian Witt
Last week was further proof that nearly every Warriors game falls under the 'can't-miss' category.
For the week of Monday, Nov. Dec. 4 – Sunday, Dec. 10
This past week was a prime example of one increasingly apparent fact: if you turn on the Warriors game, you're likely to see something spectacular.
With players like Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, the Dubs roster has the potential to go off in any given game. When all those talents (not to mention Golden State's enviable bench depth) are on the floor together, they can make some pretty incredible things happen.
And, even when they don't succeed, a loss can reveal just how special the Warriors are and have been.
Such was the case in Golden State's week-opening defeat to the Sacramento Kings. In the NBA, some nights you just have to tip your cap to the opposition, and the Kings were deserving of that after Sacramento shot 53.2 percent and 52.9 percent from the field and three-point range, respectively, against the reigning champs (who were without both Curry and Durant due to injury). So, how does that reflect positively on the Dubs? As it turns out, that was the first time in 37 consecutive regular season games that the Warriors allowed their opponent to shoot 50 percent-or-better from the field. To put that in perspective, consider this: Golden State has shot at least 50 percent from the field in all but six games this season, and all but 12 games total during that 37-game stretch.
The Dubs shot at least 50 percent from the field in every game last week, including their victory in Los Angeles, although they required an overtime period to secure it. That, however, is precisely when that game's spectacular sequence took place. After scoring just 15 points on 6-of-17 shooting in regulation, Curry flipped a switch at the start of overtime, and practically single-handedly seized control of the game. Curry opened the extra period with back-to-back three-pointers, and would go on to total 13 points in overtime of a 127-123 road victory. It wasn't Curry's strongest game, but he sure did come through when it mattered most.
Then, in the next game, the Warriors provided another awe-inspiring performance when they totaled 46 assists in their 133-112 road win over the Magic. Golden State accumulated at least 11 assists in every quarter of the game, and both Curry and Green finished with point-assist double-doubles. The 46 assists were the most by any team in a game so far this season, and fell just a single assist shy of tying the franchise record for most assists in a game, set on November 23, 2016 against the Lakers.
Finally, the Warriors closed out the week with a sensational sequence that should, well, feel a bit familiar at this point. The Dubs led the Heat by just two points at halftime, but by the time the third quarter came to a close, the game had been all but decided. Golden State opened the second half on an 18-3 run and would go on to outscore Miami 37-17 in the third quarter alone. It was the latest example of the Warriors' penchant for third quarter onslaughts, as the Dubs are now outscoring their opponents by 26.4 points per 100 possessions in the third quarter this season. Only the Raptors (plus-26.5 in the second quarter) have a better net rating in any single quarter.
Standout Spotlight: Jordan Bell
It can be hard for any individual to stand out on a team as talent-rich as the Warriors. Jordan Bell, however, has had no trouble with that whatsoever, despite the fact he's a rookie coming off the bench.
After receiving six minutes of playing time in the loss to the Kings, Bell at least doubled that in Golden State's three subsequent victories to close out last week, and took full advantage of those additional minutes. For the week, he averaged 7.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 11.7 minutes per game, and still managed to throw down some truly thunderous dunks:
While it's still extremely early in his career, Bell has the look of another second round diamond in the rough, much like Green and Patrick McCaw. He is seemingly everywhere on defense, and his athleticism allows the Warriors to do some things they wouldn't be able to do otherwise.
"He is obviously a freak athlete and has a sixth sense on defense and where to be at to block shots and protect the rim," said Curry of Bell following the win over the Magic.
"It just seemed like he was extremely comfortable out there just playing," Curry continued. "That is what you expect as you go through the season, and as he gets more minutes and more consistent minutes, he will continue to make an impact."
While the Dubs lineup is a tough one to crack, the more Bell takes advantage of the minutes given to him, the more minutes he is likely to receive.
The Week Ahead:
Now halfway through their longest road trip of the season, the Dubs will finish off that roadie in the week ahead. First up is a matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, in what will be Golden State's second road game in as many nights. The Warriors will attempt to improve their record to 4-1 in the second game of a back-to-back prior to heading to Charlotte, where they'll take on the Hornets on Wednesday night. Following that game, the Dubs will then finish off their week (and road trip) when they face the Pistons in Detroit on Friday. All three of those opponents are .500-or-better at home so far this season, meaning the Warriors will have their work cut out for them if they hope to reel off some more victories on this current trip.
Till next week.