Warriors

Warriors Under Review: Champs play flawless basketball vs. Nuggets

Warriors Under Review: Champs play flawless basketball vs. Nuggets

The Warriors didn’t mess around for a minute.

Golden State rolled into Pepsi Center on Tuesday, put their sneakers on the necks of the Denver Nuggets, and keep them there until the Western Conference leaders surrendered.

This 142-111 rout was a show of awesome focus, force, and fury by the defending champs, who left Denver as the new conference leader.

Here are a few of the positives and the closest thing to negative from this tip-to-horn road victory:
 

POSITIVE

Not a hint of complacency

The Warriors won every quarter, the first three fairly decisively. They needed less than four minutes to build a 10-point lead and scored 51 in the quarter. When Denver got within 12 with 2:11 left in the second quarter, the Warriors closed the half with a 7-0 run. Once they went up by 25 with three minutes left in the third, the Nuggets basically retreated. They never got any closer.

For months now, the Warriors have talked and perhaps even dreamt about delivering a 48-minute performance. They nailed it.

POSITIVE

Rewriting the record book

The 51 points in the first quarter represent a franchise record and the most any team has scored in the first quarter in the shot-clock era. They drained 10 3-pointers in that quarter, also a franchise record. They made a total of 21 shots from deep, their third consecutive game with at least 18 triples.

Records are made to be broken. But until that happens, they are cool to own.

POSITIVE

The KD machine

Kevin Durant scored 27 points – 20 in the first half. He has tallied at least 20 in 31 of his last 32 games. He did it without the benefit of a single free throw, instead shooting 11-of-15 from the field, including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. He added six assists, second only to Draymond Green’s 13. Durant had four rebounds, a block, and a steal.

Ho-hum. This was yet another brilliantly economical performance by a star whose consistent production can sometimes blend into the background.

POSITIVE

For Draymond, it’s not about points

Green scored four points, 3 on one shot, a wide-open look from deep. He was 1-of-5 from the field, 1-of-2 from the line. He finished a team-best plus-41. How?

Well, he grabbed 13 rebounds, had six assists and a steal. He played terrific defense and was as responsible as anyone for Nikola Jokic’s all-night discomfort. He was whistled for a technical foul for protesting a call that, from every angle, was questionable.

Green over the last four games shot 4-of-17 from the field. He also posted a cumulative plus-100 during that stretch.

NEGATIVE

Maybe someday, Jacob

Seldom-used rookie guard Jacob Evans III entered the evening with a total of 13 points. The team’s first-round draft pick has made six shots from the field, never more than one in a game. He played seven minutes, his second-highest total this season, all in the fourth quarter. This was a chance surpass his career-high of three points. He took two shots. He missed both.

The Warriors have invested in Evans and are rooting for him. Nothing would delight him or the team more than to see a couple shots drop through the net.

POSITIVE

The rise of Klay

Klay Thompson scored 31 points. Most of them, 23 in fact, came through the normal route. He was 9-of-15 from the field, including 5-of-8 from deep. What stood out, however, were the other 8 points. They came on four dunks, a career-high.

Thompson was so impressed he took time during his postgame media session to text ex-teammate Zaza Pachulia. The two have a running bet over who gets the most dunks each season. Thompson has created a comfortable lead.

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 124-122 overtime loss to Knicks

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 124-122 overtime loss to Knicks

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- In the battle of the worst teams in the NBA, the Warriors came up short.

In their latest effort -- a 124-122 overtime loss to the dysfunctional Knicks (5-20) at Chase Center -- the Warriors (5-21) were bullied from the start as New York built a 22-point first-half lead. 

For much of the season, Golden State's veteran core has been warned that these types of starts will not end in its favor, considering the Warriors' lack of talent. On Wednesday, the team didn't take heed to the message, losing their second straight game. 

Here are the takeaways.

Warriors get bullied early

Bad starts have been the norm for this iteration of the Warriors and Wednesday was no different. Through the first 24 minutes, the Knicks built an 18-point halftime lead as Julius Randle, Marcus Morris Sr., and rookie RJ Barrett scored 44 points combined through the first two quarters.

The Warriors responded after halftime, outscoring the Knicks 37-21 over a stretch in the second half and showed the effort they should have put forth at the beginning of the game. D'Angelo Russell sent the game into overtime with a late 3-pointer.

In previous years, with a star-studded roster, Golden State could afford such starts with Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson looming in the wings. Now, with a younger cast, these types of starts can't happen. 

Solid game from Draymond Green

In a season he's not expected to score, Green did just that Wednesday evening, finishing with 14 points in 34 minutes. 

Playing mostly point forward role, he grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 12 assists, helping Russell and Glenn Robinson reach double figures. With three minutes left in regulation, Green found Russell for a 3-pointer to bring the Warriors within two points. On the next possession, he grabbed a rebound, found Russell again, leading to another score to tie the game. 

This year has been a trying one for the three-time champion as he's trading wins for lessons, putting his arms around the young roster. But as he showed, Wednesday, he's still got some game. 

Eric Paschall rookie wall?

Sure looks like it after his latest output. In 17 minutes, Paschall finished with just six points on 2-of-6 from the field. Entering Wednesday, he was one of the best rookies in the league. However, he's shooting just 39 percent from the field over his last three games as a hip injury is impeding his progress. 

In Wednesday's loss, he was battered, frequently grimacing, even after jamming his hand. 

No matter how good Paschall was at the start of the season, a rookie wall was inevitable. His response in the coming days will be vital.

Watch rehabbing Klay Thompson hit half-court shot at Chase Center

Watch rehabbing Klay Thompson hit half-court shot at Chase Center

Klay Thompson has yet to play a game at Chase Center, but on Wednesday night, he was seen shooting on the Warriors' new home court.

Prior to the Warriors' game against the Knicks, Thompson spent a few minutes shooting and even nailed a half-court shot.

A day earlier, the All-Star shooting guard was seen shooting after Warriors practice.

Thompson is rehabbing from surgery on his left ACL and is still months away from returning to game action.

With the Warriors mired in a 5-20 season, fans will take all the positive developments they can get.

[RELATED: Ayesha says Steph's injury was 'really, really bad']

We'll be honest: It's good to see Klay's sweet stroke again.