OAKLAND – The Warriors fooled around and won a game on Sunday, needing the full 48 minutes to put away a Miami Heat team whose greatest asset is its zeal to overcome its roster shortcomings.
So when a final-seconds heave by Heat guard Dion Waiters was off target, the Warriors more relieved than satisfied.
Here are some of the positives and negatives culled from a 120-118 win at Oracle Arena:
KD the terminator
Three turnovers aside, Kevin Durant was terrific throughout. But he was absurd in the second half of a game that could have gone either way, scoring 25 points in 19 minutes, on 10-of-12 shooting, including 1-of-3 from beyond the arc. Repeatedly getting to his mid-range spots in isolation, he scored 11 of the team’s last 13 points, DeMarcus Cousins’ clinching free throws with 5.4 seconds left the only exception.
The Heat, like most teams, had no answer for Durant. His teammates saw that and exploited it.
Few teams are more proficient using physicality to disrupt an offense than the Heat, who had some success in the first half. Draymond Green, who had four assists and two turnovers in the first half, solved them in the second. Finding a seam here and a crack there to zing passes to set up his teammates, Green recorded 10 assists and one turnover after intermission.
The Warriors shot 59 percent in the second half. Klay Thompson (7-of-10) and Durant made the shots, and Green did plenty of spoon-feeding.
Eight minutes into the game Friday in Phoenix, the Warriors trailed the Suns 26-9. Eight minutes after tipoff against Miami, the Warriors were down 24-7. With sloppy play and lack of focus, they invited early 17-point deficits in back-to-back games. Both times, with the help of energy off the bench, they recovered over the final 40 minutes to get the victory.
These are textbook examples of a bad habit. Getting away with it doesn’t make it right.
Speaking of bad habits
The Warriors, for the second consecutive game, allowed their opponent to grab 19 offensive rebounds. One game after the Suns put up 20 more shots (101-81) than the Warriors, the Heat put up 21 more (103-82). Phoenix had 25 second-chance points, and Miami rang up 21.
For the time being, the Warriors consider fundamentals as unnecessary. Until they fix this, they’re asking for trouble.
The jersey swap
Heat legend Dwyane Wade is making the post-game jersey swap a routine of his farewell tour. His swap partner in this game was Stephen Curry. They shared a few private words, and then posed for cameras, each gripping the jersey of the other.
A few folks, mostly cranky retired players, don’t approve of this.
We do. Celebrate the game.