The Warriors gave a sample of their entire 2020-21 season experience in just 48 minutes against the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.
Golden State started the game by showing what the team can look like when completely lacking energy and unable to get anything going for them on the offensive end. Then after 24 minutes of that performance, the Warriors showed what they can do when they are clicking, well, when Steph Curry is clicking, as they used a 24-0 third quarter run to work their way to a 113-87 victory.
Curry finished the night with 30 points on 9-of-23 shooting, seven of which were 3-pointers, five assists and one steal.
It's encouraging to see that the Warriors (32-32) were able to shake whatever was keeping a lid on them in the first half. But the first two quarters also highlighted the faults the team currently has and how quickly things can fall apart for them.
Here are three takeaways from Golden State's win in Houston:
Fatigue is setting in
Where will the Warriors get the scoring when Steph Curry isn't dropping 30 points a night?
It's an age-old question that was especially pertinent in the first half against the Rockets as Curry was held to just 2-for-12 shooting from the field (2-for-10 on threes), to go along with 3 turnovers. He also missed a free throw. No one was there to step up.
The Warriors offense lacked any kind of flair Saturday night. Perhaps it's typical late-season fatigue or the fact that they've been short-handed for the last few weeks. But whatever it was, Golden State looked flat. And they have now for the last few games.
The Warriors managed to get out of their funk in the third quarter, but that 12-minute stretch doesn't negate the fact that they look tired. And that one quarter isn't going to give them newfound energy from a night-to-night basis all of a sudden.
They are in desperate need of reinforcements in the form of Damion Lee and Kelly Oubre Jr., and unfortunately for the Warriors, the latter will have to wait as it was reported that Oubre is dealing with a torn ligament in his left wrist and fractured palm.
Steph catches fire in the third
Heading into halftime, the Warriors trailed by six and showed no sign of life. But, the Warriors found a spark in the third, outscoring with Rockets 39-12, and it's the quarter that propelled them to the win.
They went on a 24-0 run in the middle of the third to take control of the game, fueled by the arrival of Curry. Before Curry found his offense, Andrew Wiggins was the one who kept the Warriors right at the Rockets' heels, hitting a few 3-pointers and jamming down a dunk. He finished the night with 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting.
Then, Curry caught fire at the 7:42 mark. He went for 23 points in the third, knocking down five three-pointers and displaying his wizardry ball-handling.
Improved defense and rebounding
Steve Kerr wanted the Warriors' game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday to be their best defensive game of the season. It wasn't, highlighted by the rebound margin. But Golden State got back on track against the Rockets, particularly in the second half.
The Warriors outrebounded the Rockets by one, although Houston did grab 10 offensive boards -- an area that still needs some nurturing from Golden State.
The Warriors limited the Rockets to just 32 points in the final two quarters, including that monster run in the third quarter. They were active, sticking to their man and making sure to defend without fouling. Golden State held Houston to 36 percent shooting from the field and 21.4 percent from three.
Juan Toscano-Anderson, who said the Warriors' defense in Minnesota was "deflating" and "unacceptable," had a career-high five blocks and career-high four steals Saturday.
Wiggins added two blocks, while Draymond Green and Curry had one steal, and Kent Bazemore and Jordan Poole had two.