Warriors

What we learned as Warriors end road trip with gritty win

Warriors

It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win. 

The Warriors' 111-107 win over the Pacers Wednesday night means they went 2-2 on their four-game road trip, which the Warriors are just thankful of. 

After starting the trip with their two most devastating losses this season, they managed to scrounge up something good enough to even the score. 

But the Warriors aren't out of the woods, and their game against the Pacers proved that. The good news is that the Warriors played with incredible energy from the tip. When they realized their perimeter shots weren't falling, they figured out how to be successful scoring in the paint. 

That being said, so did the Pacers. And the Warriors struggled with Domantas Sabonis, Doug McDermott and Malcolm Brogdon.

The game was as even-keeled as you could ever imagine, and it wasn't decided until the final seconds. 

Here are three takeaways: 

Winning without splashing

Shots were not falling from distance for either team. In fact, the Warriors had their worst shooting game of the season, going 5-of-26 (19.2 percent) from beyond the arc.

As the Warriors and Pacers traded baskets in the paint -- the Warriors had made just one more field goal than Indiana heading into the fourth -- both teams struggled from distance through the first three quarters. Warriors were shooting 4-of-23 from three and had a four-point lead, while the Pacers were 4-of-20. 

The cold streak continued into the fourth quarter, forcing the teams to get it done in other ways. The Warriors relied heavily on defense, forcing the Pacers into traveling, missed shots and turnovers. And when they got a lockdown stop, the Warriors capitalized on the other end with a mid-range jumper, layup or dunk.

 

Locking up Steph, yet again

The Pacers are one of the best teams at containing Steph Curry, and through the two games against Indiana this season, it's obvious why. 

When the Warriors faced the Pacers earlier in the season, Curry was challenged with a box-and-1 defense. 

Heading into Wednesday's game, Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren said they'd need to switch up what they do on Curry. They kept the box-and-1 and added multiple double-teams and triple-teams.

It worked, with Curry finishing with 24 points on 7-of-21 shooting, including 1-of-11 from three. Whether the Pacers forced him into all of that or not, they definitely have a better understanding of how to slow him down than other teams.

And while the Pacers certainly slowed Curry down, they didn't take away his effort. Curry ditched his long-distance shooting for the most part and started battling inside. He dove for loose balls, banged up against his bigger competition, and even got his nose busted.

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James Wiseman was a major target

Another clear part of the Pacers gameplan: attack James Wiseman. It worked, with Wiseman giving up easy baskets early on, before picking up three fouls in nine minutes. 

Wiseman had another rookie mistake when he failed to see a defender charging toward Curry during an inbound pass, resulting in a Warriors turnover. 

Wiseman's most important stretch came at the start of the fourth quarter. Heading into the final frame with a four-point lead for the Warriors and a plus-8 net rating for Wiseman, he and the bench needed to hold down the fort. But with Curry and Draymond Green off the floor, he was about to get a heavy dose of an attacking Sabonis. 

He did and fouled out of the game after just 18 minutes played, his final foul coming while going up for an offensive rebound.

These are lessons Wiseman needs to learn and will have to learn them the hard way. However, when an opponent is directly exposing them for their benefit, Wiseman's learning curve gets shorter.

The Warriors need to develop him, but they have to balance that with finding a rhythm and getting wins.

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