What we learned as Steph drops 37 in statement win over Nets originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Just last week, the argument against the Warriors‘ dominant start was that their strength of schedule was weak.
But if the Warriors’ 117-99 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night proved anything, it is that this Golden State team isn’t a fluke.
At first, the game in Barclays Center was a grind. Steph Curry and Kevin Durant were giving the fans their money worth of an all-out duel. But then the third quarter came, the Warriors kicked into high gear, and the wheels fell off for the Nets.
Before the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said this game would be a good barometer for where his team is at three weeks into the season. Well, the official measurement is in, and the Warriors are very good.
Here are three takeaways from the night:
Curry puts on a show
Maybe it was just my ears, but it sounded like the cheers and MVP chants were louder for Curry than for Durant in Barclays Center.
Durant had a good game, but Curry dazzled. He finished with 37 points on 12-of-19 shooting, including 9-of-14 from 3-point range, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block.
Every move Curry was a spectacle. From his wrap-around pass to Draymond Green in the first quarter to his ridiculous fake on Harden-pass to Green-back out to Curry for three sequence, to his ice-cold three over Durant.
For MVP of the night, Curry takes home the trophy.
Third-quarter Warriors strike again
Historically, the third quarter has been the period in which the Warriors seize the game, and it was no exception in Brooklyn. After starting the third up just five, the Warriors outscored the Nets 35-18 over the next 12 minutes, entering the fourth up 21.
Their run in the third was a combination of players other than Curry finally waking up and the issues with Brooklyn’s short bench showing.
With Curry forced to sit for four and a half minutes in the third with foul trouble, Jordan Poole, Green, Damion Lee, Gary Payton II and Andre Iguodala finally found a rhythm, and beat out a Nets lineup that featured Durant and James Harden.
In the third, Durant went 0-for-8 from the field (0-for-4 from three) and committed three turnovers. He was minus-17 and his three points that period were off free throws.
The Warriors are now plus-124 in their 14 third quarters this season.
Bench unit rotation still in flux
The Warriors have an incredibly deep bench this season, but against the Nets they came up short. And they have been for a few games not.
They found good minutes from Payton, Lee and Iguodala, but players such as Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica haven’t been able to have the same impact that they did back in San Francisco.
Bjelica played just 10 minutes in Brooklyn — four of which were in garbage time — simply because he was not being productive. Porter has some good moments, but overall still wasn’t as efficient.
The Warriors are good at playing small, but it will be hard for even them to play as small as what they’d be without Bjelica and Porter. As they head into their final two games of the road trip, they need to see more production from their pair of new vets.