SAN FRANCISCO – As the final buzzer sounded, Steph Curry left the Chase Center floor, arms raised triumphantly – and perhaps semi-sarcastically.
“We haven’t had good energy leaving this court in a while,” Curry said after the game. “We definitely needed this one.”
A late November win against a .500 team hasn’t traditionally been cause for celebration for the Golden State Warriors over the past decade, but this one – a 121-116 victory over the Houston Rockets – freshened up a “stench” of defeat. ” that Curry warned could leak into the locker room if things weren’t rectified quickly.
Warriors Ground has long been a safe space for Golden State. Even last season, when they failed to win an away game to save their lives, the Warriors only lost eight home games all year. All the more reason why their recent skid — six straight losses, including five at Chase Center — seemed even more perplexing and led Monday to a sense of urgency unmatched so far this season.
Head coach Steve Kerr played Curry for the entire fourth quarter. He faced 38-year-old Chris Paul for 34 minutes, just two nights after recording 37 in a loss to the Thunder. Curry was his normal, brilliant self, scoring 32 points on 14 shots. Paul, meanwhile, rewarded Kerr and the team with 15 points and 12 assists, committing just one turnover and finishing with the game’s best score plus-12.
“You lose so many games in a row that you forget what it feels like to win,” Paul said. “So we just tried to play with a sense of urgency tonight and see if we could come out on top.”
The motto of the current Warriors dynasty, starting with the first championship team in 2014-15, is “Strength in Numbers.” Well, for most of the 2023-24 season, it’s more like “Strength in Numbers” – and that number is 30.
30, as in the number on the back of Curry’s jersey.
30, like the number of points that No. 30 brings in each night. Well, 30.4 to be exact.
Golden State has been desperate to get offensive production from anyone besides Curry all season, with Andrew Wiggins, Klay Thompson and even Paul for a time all suffering from painful shooting slumps. For the team to emerge from its haze on Monday, it needed these numbers to regain strength.
Thompson started strong, scoring three 3-pointers in the first quarter, one of which epitomized the beautiful basketball that has become the hallmark of Kerr’s offense: seven passes, four players touching the ball, all working defense until she finally had nothing left. other option than to give in.
“That’s the plan,” Kerr said of possession. “But for that to happen, Klay has to let go of the ball when he’s not open, rather than trying to beat this guy one-on-one and taking a tough fadeaway. So it’s on That’s what we’re focusing on. And, you know, if he does that consistently, then the game is going to open up for him.”
Thompson finished with his first 20-point game of the season on 5-of-11 3-point shooting. Although he was quick to point out that he had already scored more than 20 points in a single quarter ( (he holds the NBA record with 37 points in a quarter), he admitted that Monday’s outburst could be the turning point in a season that has gotten off to a slow start. like many others in his career.
“It feels good,” Thompson remarked. “And hopefully this will break the seal so many floodgates will open.”
Wiggins didn’t shoot well (3 of 10), but he knocked down two of his three 3-point attempts and tied a season high with seven rebounds – often an indicator of his level of activity and commitment — while holding Houston guard Fred VanVleet to 10 points on 3-of-13 shooting.
In addition to Paul, Thompson and Wiggins, the Warriors also received contributions from Dario Saric (18 points, five rebounds off the bench), Moses Moody, Jonathan Kuminga and rookie Brandin Podziemski. They’ll need to see it more consistently, but getting a complete offensive performance was key for the Warriors to emerge from what Thompson called a “terrible stretch.”
If there’s a positive side to this losing streak, it’s that they didn’t fall to any bad teams. The Nuggets, Cavaliers, Timberwolves and Thunder are all expected to be in the upper echelon of their respective conferences, and they have served as something of a barometer for Golden State.
The verdict? Improvements are necessary if the goal is a championship.
“There are great teams all over the Western Conference, and you’re going to have to play really well to beat them,” Curry said. “We know we can do it. If it’s a playoff series, I feel like we can beat anybody. But it’s going to take an A, A-plus effort. It’s is there, but we have to be able to do it.”