Appreciating the Warriors’ weekend wins; Curry since Christmas; cloaking Lillard and McCollum; Evan Turner’s miss

It was a terrific weekend for the Warriors — another terrific weekend for the Warriors — but those are becoming commonplace around here. The Warriors hammered the LA Clippers, still one of the better teams in the NBA if you take a look, then went up to Portland and beat the Blazers, on the second of a back-to-back, without Stephen Curry.

Those are the kinds of Saturday/Sunday combinations that makes all the rooting worth it for a fan. For Warriors fans, though, these are becoming ho-hum, or that’s what it feels like. The Warriors routed the Clippers 144-98 on Saturday night, then flew up to Portland and beat the Blazers 113-111 on Sunday, to raise their record to 41-7. Yeah, 41-7 looks pretty good when you see it in print, huh?

We talked a lot of Warriors today on 95.7-FM The game. Here is a link to the show, with Warriors talk beginning at 41:30. One of our guests during the show was Monte Poole of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

Among the topics:

–Ever since Christmas Day, when he managed just 11 shots in a  loss to the Cavaliers, Stephen Curry has been a different player. He’s been more aggressive, more decisive and calling his own number more. One of the reasons this is happening is because Kevin Durant has made a point to tell Curry, in essence, “Do your thing.” And Curry’s taken the cue.

Since Christmas, Curry has decided to become the Warriors’ No. 1 option again.

–If you want to know one reason why the Warriors’ defense is so good — or what it can do to a team — take a look at the boxscore from the Portland game. Now look at which Blazers’ player took the most shots … It was Evan Turner, with 17. Evan Turner, my friends.

C.J. McCollum had a nice ballgame, going 10-for-16 from the floor and finishing with 28 points. He was a thorn all night for Golden State, but the Warriors, with length in the backcourt, limited him to only 16 shots. In a game like Sunday, McCollum had every right to try to get up more shots — only he couldn’t.

Next up on the shot chart are Mason Plumlee and Damian Lillard, both of whom took 14 shots. Let’s do that again, Plumlee matched Lillard in shot attempts. See, that’s not good. The Warriors did a very nice job of limiting the attempts of McCollum and Lillard, thereby guaranteeing to limit the damage. And the Warriors don’t think Portland has enough other weapons to beat them.

The Blazers had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but Turner missed a wide-open 3-point attempt. If the Warriors are going to lose at the buzzer on a 3-pointer, they’d rather make Turner do instead of Lillard or McCollum. Point is, sometimes the ball ends up in a player’s hands for a reason — and the Warriors excel at knowing who they want that player to be.







About Steinmetz

Matt Steinmetz is a veteran San Francisco Bay Area sports journalist. He covered the Golden State Warriors for the Bay Area News Group for more than a decade before becoming a television analyst with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Steinmetz can be heard on "Steiny & Guru" on 95.7-FM The Game in San Francisco, from 12-3.
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