The Warriors don’t enjoy many games against the San Antonio Spurs, so they have many reasons to savor their 121-99 victory Wednesday night at Chase Center.
Playing impressive defense and shooting with tremendous efficiency – four of five starters scored in double figures – the Warriors led from tip-to-buzzer and rarely were threatened.
Stephen Curry scored a game-high 26 points, snagged a game-high 11 rebounds and recorded a game-high seven assists. James Wiseman had season- and career-high 20 points, Andrew Wiggins had 18 and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 16.
The win lifts their record to 8-6, so they’ll be chasing their first three-game win streak when the New York Knicks come to town on Thursday.
Here are three takeaways from one of Golden State’s best all-around games this season:
Wiseman bounces back
Sometimes people forget what they always should remember. James Wiseman is 19 years old, and his poor performance Monday against the Los Angeles Lakers was testimony to nights when his inexperience shows.
There also will be nights when his potential shines. This was one of them. He finished with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting and six rebounds in 25 minutes.
On defense: Wiseman bit on a DeMar DeRozan shot fake in the first quarter and fouled the San Antonio wing. The next Wiseman saw a pump fake, he stood his ground. This is not to suggest he’ll never bite again. He will. The key is that it becomes rare.
On offense: Wiseman saw the floor and read his teammates better than he has at any time this season. The result is lobs giving him countless easy dunks off cuts to the rim and a season-high four assists.
Until March 31, he’s a teenager very much in the NBA developmental stage. This was a very positive performance.
Kerr gets a big wish
From Day One of training camp, coach Steve Kerr has been talking about defense. It’s the key to the Warriors competing at the highest levels, and it was on display against the Spurs.
It was so good, for long stretches of the game, that Spurs showed signs of panic. That’s very atypical of Gregg Popovich’s teams.
The Warriors limited San Antonio to 36.6-percent shooting from the field, including a remarkable 9.4 percent from distance. And the work was comprehensive.
Patty Mills, the savvy veteran Sixth Man, finished with six points on 3-of-11 shooting, 0-of-7 from deep. Keldon Johnson, the rookie wing impressive enough to crack the starting lineup, missed his first seven shots and finished 1-of-9. Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge totaled four points on 2-of-8 shooting.
What differentiated this from some of their other solid defensive games was the consistency. San Antonio shot 40.9 percent in the first quarter, 25.9 in the second and 38.5 in the third, after Golden State had a 19-point (90-71) lead.
Kerr has to be pleased, and so does player-coach (and team defense minister) Draymond Green.
Quick starts matter
The Warriors have had some high-profile comeback wins, beating both the Clippers and the Lakers in that fashion. But they often talk about the importance of setting a tone early. They did that in this game.
They raced out to leads of 9-2, 27-13 and 35-18 in the first quarter. They played fast against a team that prefers a deliberate tempo.
The crucial elements were Curry getting hot, scoring 12 points on four shots while making both his 3-pointers in the opening quarter. Oubre had eight points and Green six. Truth is, Golden State’s offense gets a major jolt when Draymond puts up points.
Most significant, though, was that the high energy was there on both ends. San Antonio’s starters shot 4-of-14 in the first quarter, 7-of-26 in the first half.