Another day, another Golden State Warriors rout. This time it took place on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and the Denver Nuggets put up a fight for about three minutes before the Warriors’ offense caught up with their defense and the lead started expanding at a rapid rate. The afternoon ended extraordinarily early (in terms of effort and hope) for Denver, a team that stopped being relevant almost at the very moment the Warriors knocked them out in the first round of the 2013 playoffs.
With their 122-79 win, the Warriors raised their NBA-leading point differential from 10.9 to 11.7 points per game. It boggles the mind, since it’s not like the season just began. The Warriors are 33-6, so they’d only need to go 27-16 to finish with a franchise-high win total. At this point that seems almost comically easy, just like this game against the Nuggets.
James Michael McAdoo’s debut
Since this game reached the garbage time zone before I ate lunch (I ate lunch pretty late today, but still), the Warriors got to see a lot of their newest acquisition. McAdoo is loooong (he stands 6′ 7.5″ with his shoes off, and his wingspan is 7′ 2.25″). He comes to the Warriors on a 10-day contract after averaging 17.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg and 2.6 bpg with the Santa Cruz Warriors, and he put together a nice little stat line: 11 points, five rebounds and a block (pictured above, courtesy of @TheWarriorWire) in just 13 minutes.
The expression on Steve Kerr’s face was priceless when McAdoo soared toward the basket and banked in a contested layup. Luke Walton smiled and gave the Warriors head coach a pat on the shoulder, and Kerr shook his head as if to say, “Things just keep going well in our world, and sometimes I’m not sure why, but I’m not going to question it.”
McAdoo will probably get at least one more chance to show what he can do before his contract is up, at which point the Warriors can sign him to another 10-day deal before deciding whether to keep him for the rest of the season.
The undrafted rookie out of North Carolina would’ve played power forward 10 years ago, but in today’s NBA (and on this team), he’s probably a center. He went 4-of-5 from the field, and all of his shots were tip-ins, dunks or layups. He’s not all that bulky, but he’s clearly the kind of rim protector the Warriors don’t have when Andrew Bogut isn’t on the floor.
Again, he’s a rookie who didn’t get drafted. He’s not going to play a lot of important minutes. But he looks like a guy who the Warriors will keep around, and it was telling that he was with the team today while Ognjen Kuzmic was off with McAdoo’s previous team.
Plan is to keep Kuzmic on assignment in Santa Cruz while James Michael McAdoo plays out his contract per source.
— Sea Dubs Central (@SeaDubsCentral) January 19, 2015
Stephen Curry does Stephen Curry things
Sam Amico (not to be confused with the great Sam Amick) is a writer for Fox Sports who isn’t a believer in the Warriors. Mostly because of the same ol’ stereotypes: too many threes and too little defense. Today he caused a bit of a stir with this section of his most recent notes column:
4. But as for most everyone else who gave a strong showing in the first half, I’m not sold. The Raptors, Wizards, Warriors and Trail Blazers frighten no one. Let’s see what these teams can do in the playoffs.
5. I love watching the Warriors play, but I don’t think a team with a frail point guard (Stephen Curry) that shoots so many 3-pointers can win a title – or even get out of the West. Yes, I know the Spurs won championships with little Tony Parker at the point, but he has Tim Duncan down low. Andrew Bogut is a nice center for the Warriors, but he ain’t Duncan.
The ever-so-frail Curry had a game high two blocks (along with 20 points and eight assists in 25 minutes). If Amico would rather have a stocky point guard, he must love Denver because they’ve got two in Ty Lawson and Jameer Nelson. Denver’s roster is strange.
Klay Thompson should be an All-Star
He’s not getting a ton of attention, but Thompson is playing the best basketball of his life. Today’s efficiency episode: 22 points on 7-of-13 shooting (4-of-8 on threes) in 23 minutes. Thompson is playing fewer minutes per game in January than any month so far this season, but he’s scoring more points and shooting ridiculously well.
- November*: 32.9 mpg, 20.9 ppg, 44.4% FG, 44.6% 3-pt, 2.7 3pg
- December: 33.7 mpg, 21.2 ppg, 46.3% FG, 40.4% 3-pt, 3.0 3pg
- January: 29.3 mpg, 23.9 ppg, 53.5% FG, 51.6% 3-pt, 4.0 3pg
*Includes one game from October
— Shaun Livingston needed a good game, and he went 6-for-6 from the field and led the team in +/- with +25.
— Brandon Rush had four points. He has six points in the team’s last two games after scoring three points in the Warriors’ previous 22 contests (Rush saw action in seven of those games).
— The Warriors’ magic number seems to be 30 assists, and they hit that on the dot.
— If there’s anything I’m going to take from this game — other than McAdoo’s first NBA action — it’s how the Warriors came off a blowout win in Houston to cap a four-games-in-five-nights stretch, had one day off, returned home for an early game and played the role of rude hosts with quick, active, harassing defense from the start. The Nuggets don’t have anyone who’ll really scare you besides Lawson. Curry’s defensive effort this year has been outstanding, and today was no different. The Warriors scored 24 points off turnovers and 32 off fast breaks, and that was no surprise after the way they frustrated Denver’s shooters throughout this game. The Warriors got sloppy in the third quarter (it was kind of funny to see how angry Kerr looked at the end of the quarter, when the lead sunk below 30 points for a brief period), but the Nuggets scored 47 points in the other three quarters. That’s ridiculous, but it’s also the kind of thing that’s par for the course for the 2014-15 Warriors when a bad team enters their building.