The Warriors' game against the Houston Rockets on Saturday was a must-win for Golden State. And they were victorious in convincing fashion.
Their 125-109 win saw strong bench performances, well-rounded contributions and early energy -- all things that were seriously lacking 24 hours earlier against the Washington Wizards.
"It's a tough league to win in, so any time you win it feels good," Kent Bazemore said. "But if you look at our last three games, you takeaway the results and break down the film, I think we're getting better ... We're building the momentum and the confidence to give ourselves a chance to win, get rid of these 10, 15-point losses and give ourselves a chance down the stretch."
Let's not get ahead of ourselves in talking about how this is the game that could spark that run the Warriors keep talking about making.
Could it be? Sure. But how many of those games has there been? A lot. And how many actually turned into a run? None.
Saying that is not to take away from the positives the Warriors showed Saturday night.
"Our aggressiveness was there and defensively, we communicated enough to keep guys in front of us," Steph Curry said. "[We did] not take our foot off the gas pedal at all, even though we had a lead."
The Warriors' bench finally looks like it's gaining tractions. After getting Golden State a four-point lead against the Wizards on Friday, the second unit outscored Houston's 45-27. That included a 15-4 run to open the second quarter in which they forced two turnovers and held the Rockets to just two field goals. Jordan Poole looked aggressive yet again, and finished with 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, while Mychal Mulder managed to have a strong 10-point game after not playing in the last three.
Another positive was the well-distributed scoring. There's always a question of who is going to help Steph Curry with the scoring? And with Kelly Oubre Jr. missing Saturday's game with a left wrist sprain, even more scoring needed to be made up.
Well, Curry went for 38 points -- his sixth consecutive game with at least 30 -- and was helped by three players. Andrew Wiggins chipped in 25 points, while Poole chipped in his 21 and Kent Bazemore, who started in Oubre's place, added nine points, played solid defense got involved in areas that won't show up on the stat sheet.
The final improvement was the energy the Warriors played with from the jump.
The Warriors led for 11 of the 12 minutes of the first quarter and had control of the game all night long. Any time it seemed as though the Rockets were going to make a run, the Warriors kept them at bay.
If Golden State can begin every game as they did against Houston, winning will seem far less like a reach.
So, with all of that being said, the Warriors' game was encouraging. But again, it's too soon to call this their resurgence.
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It's commendable that the Warriors are 2-1 on their four-game homestand so far, but truthfully, their win over the Bucks -- the team with the third-best record in the Eastern Conference -- should have been more of a spark than their victory against the 14-39 Rockets.
"Whatever the narrative I need to try to just win games, I'll say whatever," Curry said. "I don't like being in a situation where you're not putting together good performances. So whatever that is, the underdog, late bloomers, whatever it is, we just have to figure out how to put a string together and start playing consistent good basketball night in and night out in these last 19 games."
And with the Denver Nuggets, who are on an eight-game winning streak, coming to Chase Center on Monday -- oh, and the possibility of the Warriors being without Oubre and James Wiseman -- it's difficult to say Golden State will play with the same rhythm they had on Saturday.