(Jeff Haynes/NBAE/Getty Images)
The Weekly Dish, Presented by Mountain Dew Kickstart
By Brian Witt
The road winning streak is over, but what a streak it was.
For the week of Monday, Jan. 22 – Sunday, Jan. 28
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. The Warriors may have seen their franchise record-tying road winning streak come to a close with a loss in Houston on Saturday, but my, what a streak it was.
Beginning with a 127-123 overtime victory over the Lakers and finishing with a 119-112 win over the Bulls on Wednesday, Golden State's 14-game winning streak spanned a total of 53 days. It matched the longest road winning streak in franchise history – set back during the 24-0 start to the 2015-16 season – and tied for the third-longest such streak in NBA history (the '71-'72 Lakers hold the record at 16-straight road wins).
Prior to their defeat at the hands of the Rockets, the last time the Dubs had lost a road game was November 22 in Oklahoma City, after which the Warriors' record fell to 13-5. That record now stands at 37-10, as Golden State's dominant play away from the Bay Area has ensured they remain atop the league standings.
The loss in Houston was the only blemish on an otherwise tremendously successful five-game road trip that took the Warriors through some of the coldest climates in the NBA and saw them face some of the best competition the league has to offer. With that trip now in the rearview mirror, Golden State's road slate looks a lot more palatable from here on out.
Throughout the remainder of the 2017-18 regular season, the Warriors will play a total of 16 more road games, and none of their remaining road trips consist of more than three games. In fact, the Dubs will only play five road games in all of February, equaling the number of the games that comprised the trip they just completed. And while Golden State has been a better road team than they have been at Oracle so far this season, there's a reason why teams fight as hard as they do to try to secure homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs.
So, it will be good to be home. That doesn't mean it's smooth sailing from here on out, though. The Warriors have been winning, yes, but certain aspects of their performance have dipped a bit recently, and there's two areas in particular that the Dubs would be wise to address.
The first is turnovers, which is the same familiar refrain Steve Kerr has been singing for much of the past three-and-a-half seasons. The Warriors have committed an average 15.7 turnovers per game so far this season, and are coming off a performance in which they made 19 miscues in their matchup with the Rockets, which Houston turned into 23 points.
"Well, it's been a good streak, disappointing end to it," said Kerr following that defeat. "But, we didn't deserve to win tonight. We played pretty poorly, did a lot of things to hurt ourselves and we're playing a great team. Can't get away with it."
The other area is defense, in general. Dating back to their final game of 2017, the Warriors have allowed 110.3 points against per 100 possessions over their last 11 games, which ranks 23rd in the league over that span. For reference, Golden State's defensive rating on the season to date is 103.1 points against per 100 possessions. And while, yes, almost all of their recent opponents rank in the top-10 in the league in offensive efficiency, the fact of the matter is, those are the kinds of teams the Warriors will eventually encounter if they get to where they want to go.
The Dubs have ranked as a top-five defensive team in each of the last four seasons and are currently on pace to do it for a fifth-straight year, so it's not as if the sky is falling. There has been some slippage, though, and you'd much rather address that now in the regular season than during the playoffs with your season on the line. The upcoming home-friendly schedule offers Golden State an opportunity to do just that.
Standout Spotlight: Klay Thompson
Well, the Houston game was a bit of an anomaly, but Klay Thompson's performance in the only other game last week was enough to secure him this designation.
In Golden State's 119-112 win in Chicago, Thompson put forth his best offensive game of the season. He sank 12 of his 22 attempts from the field and seven of his 13 three-point attempts to establish a season-high with 38 points. His seven made threes also tied a season-high.
Thompson got off to an efficient start to the season and has maintained that all the way up to this point, currently on pace for a career-best shooting season. He's shooting 48.6 from the field, 45.3 percent from three-point range and 88.1 percent from the free throw line – all career-bests – placing him within range of joining the ultra-exclusive 50-45-90 club.
Throughout NBA history, there have been three single-season instances in which a player shot at least 50 percent from the field, 45 percent from three-point land and 90 percent from the charity stripe (minimum 31 games played).
The guys to do it?
Steve Kerr, Steve Nash and Stephen Curry.
Maybe there's something in the water...
The Week Ahead:
As promised, a three-game homestand awaits the Warriors in the week ahead. First up, the Dubs will attempt to improve to 10-0 in games following a loss this season when they host the New York Knicks on Tuesday night. After that, Golden State will finish up the week and homestand with home dates against the Timberwolves and Celtics on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. All three of those opponents will be making their only and/or final trip to Oracle Arena this season, so the week ahead presents your last chance to see those teams in the Bay Area before the playoffs start.
If you miss those three contests but still want to catch a game at Oracle this week, don't worry, you're in luck. The Santa Cruz Warriors – Golden State's G League team – will host the Austin Spurs at Oracle Arena on Sunday Night at 6:00 p.m., and there are several reasons why all kinds of Warriors fans will want to be there. First off, the first 10,000 fans in attendance will receive a limited edition Kevin Durant Bobblehead. Second, current Golden State Warrior Damian Jones and two-way players Quinn Cook and Chris Boucher are likely to play. And finally, it's a chance to be a part of history! Last year's Santa Cruz Warriors game at Oracle Arena set a then-G League attendance record, and Sunday's game has the potential to top that. No matter what kind of Warriors fan you are, there's bound to be something that interests you, so head to Oracle and check out the Sea Dubs on Sunday.
Till next week.