A former announcer who isn’t known for leaning on catchphrases (“Mama, there goes that blogger … BASG, you’re better than that!”), Steve Kerr often summarizes the events the night extremely well. What he said tonight was no exception.
“It just feels like right now we’re running on fumes,” Kerr told reporters after his team’s latest game, an 89-84 victory over the 76ers that was as ugly as the score would indicate.
“I’m actually really proud of the guys for pulling that win out. It wasn’t pretty. There wasn’t much we did well, but we got a few key individual performances. I thought Andre and Mo both gave us a huge lift, coming back here to Philadelphia, which was nice. And I thought Bogut was tremendous in the second half defensively, making key blocks, key stops, when they were making their push.”
You could probably toss in Leandro Barbosa’s night (16 points on 5-of-7 shooting, six rebounds and decent defense in just under 20 minutes), and the Warriors needed the extra help. Why? Because the Splash Brothers don’t even have fumes remaining on which to run.
For the second straight game, the Warriors struggled at times against a vastly inferior Eastern Conference foe (granted, the Sixers are a much feistier and stronger group defensively than the Knicks), due in part to a poor shooting night for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Curry got it together late in New York to finish 8-for-18 (5-for-9 on threes) and extend the Warriors’ lead in a game that was waaaay too close to comfort given the opposition. But the MVP candidate didn’t have his normal touch from long range in Philly: 3-for-12 on his three-point attempts, 7-for-20 overall. Pull-ups, fly-bys, it didn’t matter — Curry was just a little bit off.
Thompson shot 4-for-14 tonight and made just 1-of-6 threes after making just five of his 22 field goal attempts in New York — he’s shooting just 25% (field goals and threes) over his last two games. Curry is shooting better (39.5% from the field over his last two games) while contributing in more ways than Thompson, but they both look like they could use whatever rest they can squeeze out of the post-All-Star Break break.
Someone who probably won’t play at all until their first post-Break game (Feb. 20 vs. San Antonio) at the earliest is Draymond Green, who sprained his right ankle after getting tangled up with Nerlens Noel. Green needed to hop on his left foot while putting most of his weight on the shoulder of Barbosa as he headed to the locker room, but it was the kind of injury that looked like it could’ve been much worse. Noel darted toward Curry and into the path of Green, clipping Green’s right leg from the inside. It looked like the kind of collision that could’ve torn Green’s ACL if his ankle didn’t give way instead.
The Warriors didn’t rebound all that well (the Sixers had a 52-40 edge). They shot poorly (40% on field goals, 24.1% on threes). So how’d they win? They forced 27 Philly turnovers, which led to 35 points for Golden State. Otherwise, the Warriors would’ve had to win in Minnesota on Wednesday to avoid going into the break losing three of four.
— At least the Warriors have this going for them:
This is basically the perfect time for any team to suffer a 3-week injury. Minimal missed games.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) February 9, 2015
— The Warriors are 41-9, so they’re on pace to finish 67-15.
— Small sample size alert, but Robert Covington and JaKarr Sampson look like they can play. K.J. McDaniels tossed one off the backboard to himself for a dunk, which you don’t see all that often in games that count in the standings.
— Iguodala led the Warriors with four steals. Curry had three, as did David Lee.
— Lee had the most un-Lee stat line ever. He scored zero points and went 0-for-5 from the field, and he had the same number of rebounds as steals (three, in case you missed the prior “Step”), but he also had five assists. The Warriors are probably going to do whatever they can to dump his salary in a trade after this season, and it’ll be interesting to see if Lee reverts back to going for points and rebounds exclusively with his next team, or if the defense and assists will linger.
— Actually, there’s a good chance we’ll see what Lee does in the starting lineup on Wednesday in place of Green. Interesting subplot there, although most people will (rightly) be more concerned with the results of Green’s MRI.