Seven best wins of Warriors' season
Seven Warriors wonders
Here are the seven games that strengthened the Warriors' swagger, reinforced their ambitions and allowed their fans to keep the faith. These victories are at the root of some of the outsized, even delusional, expectations attached to the Warriors.
Nov. 14 at Oracle Arena: Warriors 116, Thunder 115
Oklahoma City represented the first truly difficult home test for the Warriors, whose collective heart sank when Russell Westbrook drilled a 29-foot 3-point bomb to give the Thunder a 115-114 lead with 2.3 seconds left. Coach Mark Jackson called a timeout and turned to Andre Iguodala. In his ninth game as a Warrior, he endeared himself to locals by nailing a 17-foot turnaround jumper at the buzzer. It was the first of six Warriors buzzer-beaters and still the most impressive, given the opposition.
Dec. 3 at Oracle: Warriors 112, Raptors 103
The Warriors were asleep on defense until halftime, when a Jermaine O'Neal speech sounded an alarm that got their full attention three minutes into the third quarter. The result was a comeback of epic proportions, as the Warriors cranked up the defense, starting firing treys and wiped out a 27-point deficit. They outscored Toronto 64-28 over the final 21:40 to complete one of the biggest comebacks in franchise history. "This being my third year here," Jackson said, "there has not been a bigger win."
Jan. 2 at American Airlines Arena: Warriors 123, Heat 114
With Jackson relying mostly on his small lineup, the Warriors put up 123 points on the back-to-back champs, in their arena, in regulation. Curry had 36, Lee 32. All three of Miami's royal triplets – LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh – were on the floor for at least 34 minutes. Enough said?
Jan. 3 at Philips Arena: Warriors, 101, Hawks 100
Less than 24 hours after clocking the champs, the Warriors stepped onto the floor in Atlanta and did not play especially well, falling 15 points behind the Hawks. They shot 6-of-27 from deep and their winning streak, at seven games, was in jeopardy. To the rescue, again, came Iguodala, who inbounded the ball with 2.8 seconds left and got it back in time to drain a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Playing poorly yet winning the second half of a road back-to-back – when the first half was a victory over the defending champs – takes a special kind of resolve.
March 4 at Banker's Life Fieldhouse: Warriors 98, Pacers 96
Indiana had the league's best record, the league's best home record and a chance to clinch a playoff berth. Klay Thompson and the Warriors spoiled all of it. There was plenty of fourth-quarter drama as the teams traded baskets. But the Pacers couldn't keep up with Thompson, who scored 16 points in the final quarter – including the game-winner in a 12-foot turnaround jumper with 0.6 seconds left. The victory snapped a six-game losing streak at Indiana and earned the Warriors the distinction of being the only team to be Indy and Miami on their home courts.
March 16 at Moda Center: Warriors 113, Trail Blazers 112
The Warriors had lost their previous two games and were down 18 in the third quarter. Thompson, who had missed the previous game to attend his grandfather's funeral in the Bahamas, would not allow a third straight defeat. After taking three flights to get to Portland, Thompson scored 23 of his 27 points in the second half, including the go-head trey with 11.1 seconds left. It was an emphatic and remarkable way to punctuate the comeback and finish what Curry (game-high 37 points) had started.
March 28 at Oracle: Warriors 100, Grizzlies 93
Coming off their a tumultuous week ignited by the dismissal of assistant coach Brian Scalabrine and a blistering report citing Jackson's approach as the cause of a "dysfunctional" environment, the Warriors showed tremendous will in defeating a hot and talented team that usually is too muscular for them. Down seven (93-86) with less than four minutes left, the Warriors reeled off a stunning 14-0 run over the final 3:15 to overtake the Grizzlies, Memphis had won five in a row at Oracle and eight of their previous 10 overall.