Warriors takeaways: What we learned from 137-90 win over Hornets

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from 137-90 win over Hornets

OAKLAND -- Maybe the Warriors' anger in the wake of their bitter overtime loss two nights earlier in Minnesota spilled over into Sunday.

They came after Charlotte quickly and with destructive intentions, and cruised to a 137-90 triumph over the Hornets before a relaxed sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

The win gave the Warriors (52-24) their fifth consecutive Pacific Division title and a one-game lead over the Denver Nuggets, who lost to the Washington Wizards on Sunday, atop the Western Conference standings.

Here are three takeaways from a victory in which every available Warrior played:

Let it rain

When the Warriors are making 3-pointers at a high rate, the opponent, no matter how good, has almost no chance. They shot a franchise-best (for 30 or more attempts) 63.6 percent from deep, with Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry leading the way.

Thompson scored 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including 6 of 9 from deep. He moved past Rashard Lewis and into 16th place on the NBA's all-time list at 1,788 -- 39 behind Kobe Bryant.

Curry scored a game-high 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 5 of 8 from beyond the arc. This was his career-high eighth consecutive game with at least five triples.

Draymond Green was 2 of 4 from deep, and is 11 of 24 (45.8 percent) from deep over his last nine games.

The Warriors over the last four games shot a preposterous 51.9 percent from deep -- yet somehow lost at Minnesota on Friday.

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Point KD

Kevin Durant, one of the greatest scorers in NBA history, continues to flourish in the role of ... point forward, finishing with a game-high-tying nine assists in 27 minutes.

Meanwhile, his scoring efficiency remains rather absurd. He scored 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting, including 1 of 1 from deep.

Durant routinely brings the ball up court, motioning teammates into position. It’s clear he is looking to set up others more than get his own shot, which he can do whenever he pleases.

But the most telling stat about the focus of the four-time scoring leader is that over the last four games Durant has more assists (32) than field goals (30).

Cook on fire

Quinn Cook’s shooting slump, which lasted for the better part of two months, definitely is a thing of the past.

[RELATED: Draymond busts Quinn's chops]

The diminutive backup point guard scored 13 of his 21 points in the first half on 5-of-5 shooting, including 3 of 3 from beyond the arc. After going 10 of 45 from deep over the months of January and February, Cook was 20 of 40 (adjust) in March -- and 10 of 12 over his last four games.

Inasmuch as he is a liability on defense, the only way for Cook to get playing time is with effective scoring. He has found his rhythm, and is rolling toward the end of the regular season.

Warriors' Klay Thompson will return 'late next season,' father Mychal says

Warriors' Klay Thompson will return 'late next season,' father Mychal says

There is not yet an official timeline for Klay Thompson’s return to the Warriors lineup, but his father provided a pretty good update the other day.

Mychal Thompson, who accompanied Klay out of Oracle Arena after the shooting guard sustained a torn ACL in his left knee in Game 6 of The Finals, indicated his son may be able to resume moderate basketball activities by the end of the calendar year.

“He’s walking normally and he’s very optimistic and enthusiastic about getting back late next season,” Thompson said on the NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors Insider podcast.

“Once he gets back up to the bay and is around the team and he’s working out . . . he probably won’t be on the court doing fullcourt drills until late December or January. So, he’s got quite a ways to go. The main thing is to stay dedicated and diligent in your rehab and just continue to work hard and keep that motivation to get back on the court with his teammates.”

Thompson sustained the injury on June 13 and underwent surgery on July 2. With a typical recovery period falling anytime between six months and nine months, his father’s projection is within range.

Mychal even offered a comparison: Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, who had surgery in February 2017. LaVine five months later (in July) announced himself ahead of schedule. Four months later, he was throwing down windmill dunks in full-contact practices.

When LaVine did not return until January, it was speculated that he could have come back sooner if the Bulls weren’t committed to tanking.

There is no questioning that LaVine aced his recovery.

“Modern medicine has advanced so much since 10, 15, 20 years ago,” Mychal Thompson said. “Guys come back from this injury and are normal. You can look at a bunch of players in the league now who have suffered that injury and have come back because they’ve dedicated themselves to their rehab. And they come back as if nothing ever happened.

“Doctors are so good now. Modern medicine is so good at repairing these athletes. That’s the way I talked to Klay. You’re going to be fine. Look at Zach LaVine. He had the same injury and is as bouncy as ever because guys like that work hard to come back. (Klay) will come back stronger than ever.”

Thompson’s injury led some to wonder if the Warriors might reduce the proposed max contract offer once he became a free agent. They didn’t. Thompson last month signed a five-year pact worth $190 million.

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“We never worried about that, because (Warriors CEO) Joe Lacob and management have been so loyal to their core players and what they have meant to that franchise,” Mychal Thompson said. “And with this injury, every doctor assured Klay and the Warriors that he was going to come back as good as ever.”

The Warriors would happily accept that and remain hopeful that Thompson will be able to return to game action sometime in February or March.

Why Bob Myers believes Warriors' title run felt like 'running five marathons'

Why Bob Myers believes Warriors' title run felt like 'running five marathons'

It's hard to blame the man.

After five consecutive runs to the NBA Finals, just about every member of the Golden State Warriors organization was drained. General manager Bob Myers recently joined The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami on his podcast, and went in-depth on the toll these marathon seasons have taken.

“Thinking back to my state of mind, there's things I know. I was tired, I know that. Just the five years, I don't know how that plays with the audience and listeners and how to convey that appropriately, but internally, for those that work here, that was, we felt that.”

“And not having time each offseason, leading right into the draft, leading right into free agency, I look at it as running five marathons back to back to back. And the fifth one, you're just like 'Can we cross the line?'”

Myers also constantly dealt with questions regarding the 2019 free agency period throughout the tail end of the season.

“I didn't have that kind of certainty that you intimated as far as did I know if Kevin was gonna go or stay. It was more of 'There's a lot of work to do and a lot of unknowns’.”

[RELATED: Warriors projected to face Clippers in playoffs by ESPN real plus-minus]

KD’s departure put a bow on what was one of the most dominant three-year runs by a team in NBA history. Although the team salvaged All-Star D’Angelo Russell in the Durant sign-and-trade, the team still enters 2020 with a litany of unknowns.

“I don't think it was a fear of what was upcoming, it was just more of, there's a lot of uncertainty.”