There’s no precise definition of the term for real.
So the Golden State Warriors have to write their own meaning.
The Warriors capped a historic road trip with a 115-93 blowout victory against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.
Despite falling to the Orlando Magic on Friday, the Warriors win in Atlanta concluded an unprecedented 6-1 road trip, the best in the franchise’s history.
“We bounced back and I think it’s important for us to do that, to show that we’re for real and we’re going to be here for the long haul,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said.
Golden State is clinging to for real, having propelled itself even more into the conversation as one of the league’s authentic winners, after the impressive road trip.
The Warriors (16-8) hold the fifth best record in the Western Conference approaching the one-third mark of the season.
The Warriors season-long, seven-game road trip included wins against the Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets and now the Hawks, who are no slouch. Atlanta had lost just twice at home all season and entered the night winners of 11 of their last 13 games.
“This is definitely a playoff-caliber team and this win speaks volumes for us as well,” Warriors guard Jarrett Jack said.
The mental character is changing for Golden State. Once, built-in excuses like fatigue offered an easy way out. Now, the team seems to rally behind the challenge, a characteristic of a motivated team.
“It makes us battle-tested, none of these teams gave us any of these games,” Jack said. “We had to come out here and work for each and every game as soon as we stepped inside the lines. There were some games we were down and could have folded, and came back and played hard.”
Curry finds his way as one of the league’s elite
So much of Golden State’s success relies on the vulnerable ankles of Stephen Curry, who nearly had a triple-double with 18 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.
Curry is having a breakout season in his fourth year with the Warriors, displaying a quickness and strength on cuts that only comes with health. He’s also realizing a greater offensive awareness, although it may not have been on full display in Saturday night’s less-than-efficient 6-for-20 shooting performance.
The streak continues
David Lee finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds. He tallied 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds in each of the seven road games.
Saturday night was more than just the Curry-Lee show as the Warriors displayed a balanced attack. The Warriors tallied a season-high 32 assists and received 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting from rookie Harrison Barnes.
Off the bench, Jack added 13 points and eight assists and Carl Landry scored 19 points on efficient 8-for-10 shooting. The Hawks entered the night allowing just 93.1 points per game, fifth best in the league.
On a play emblematic of the Warriors bench on Saturday night, Jack drove the lane mid-second quarter, missed short off the front rim, only to have Landry grab the putback with his left mitt and power back an emphatic slam.
Of course, beating Atlanta is much easier when Josh Smith shoots 1-for-12 for just three points, a credit to the Warriors defense that also added 10 steals.
This social media conversation will only heat up
@B_Trail707 wrote: “@csnwarriors #warriorstalk another huge win for GSW. What a great start to the season. How are @StephenCurry30 and @Dlee042 not all-stars?”
Truth be told
@wildBlue82 wrote: “Jarrett Jack is possibly the best offseason pick-up by the Warriors. He and Landry are a big part of the 15-8 start. #WarriorsTalk”
Finishing with legs
Fatigue wasn’t a factor on the seventh and final game of the road trip. The Warriors burst out of the gates on the second day of a back-to-back, shooting 54.3 percent from the floor and 8-for-12 three-point shooting to score a season-high 62 points in a half. The team finished the game at 49.5 percent from the field.
Outrebounding the opposition
The Warriors won the rebounding battle 54-45 against Atlanta and are now 15-1 when they outrebound their opponent.
Ezeli stays out
Festus Ezeli sat out the remainder of the game in Orlando on Friday night when he suffered a right knee contusion after colliding knees in the third quarter with Moe Harkless. The Warriors thought he would play in Atlanta, but he was scratched just prior to the game. Andris Biedrins started in his place and logged 14 minutes, scoring no points but grabbing seven rebounds.
The Korver factor
Kyle Korver is a great shooter for Atlanta, but Hawks coach Larry Drew had to limit his minutes and hide him defensively. First it was Klay Thompson, and then it was Barnes, who took advantage of Korver’s limited defensive abilities. Korver, who averages 28.3 minutes per game and 10.8 points, played just 21 minutes and had three points. Drew also pulled most of his regulars early in the night.
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