SAN FRANCISCO – The Golden State Warriors rode the COVID-19 wave to claim shorthanded victories against two conference rivals, but reminded the league on Monday of what they were capable of at full power, or at least s’ by bringing together.
With a vintage performance from Draymond Green on his return from health and safety protocols, the Warriors had no hesitation in getting more assists (10) from Steph Curry than points (nine), or that Klay Thompson stayed. on the bench in formal attire. Either of these is unlikely to hold true for long, leaving Golden State (29-7) only ready to add reinforcements to a group that ran to a double-digit lead and rarely trailed. to win, 115-108, against one of the best teams in the East, the Miami Heat.
“I was definitely energized and felt great,” Green said after filling in the stats sheet again (5 points, 13 assists, eight assists, four blocks). “My lungs felt good. … I played 36 minutes and I am not sure I have breathed more than twice.
Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins were the main beneficiaries of Green’s season-high 13 assists, scoring 32 and 22 points each to lead the Warriors. With 39 total assists from 45 buckets, Golden State tied the season high in assists, establishing the forward game against Utah while playing without Green, becoming the first team since 1994 to record 39 or more assists. in consecutive matches.
The Heat (23-15) represented the East two years ago in the NBA Finals and sit fourth in the conference standings this season, but they were missing eight players, including starting center Bam Adebayo, and played the return leg back to back. Top scorer Jimmy Butler injured his ankle during second-half practice and didn’t return either.
“This game was a testament to the Heat culture. It was extreme basketball in the Miami Heat, ”Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “They’ve established a competitive spirit that will be there every night. We knew it. We talked to our team about it beforehand. Honestly it was one of the best performances I have ever seen from an understaffed team.
The Warriors managed to take a 13-point lead in the first quarter, but Miami used a 21-6 run midway through the second quarter to clear the deficit and briefly take the lead. After that, Golden State didn’t extend their double-digit lead until the end of the third quarter, but also took all but one possession for the remainder of the game without losing the lead again.
“They continued to compete; they kept chasing us, ”Kerr said.
Golden State didn’t need a big contribution from Curry, who started the game empty-handed in his first five attempts on the field. Curry was limited to nine points (previously: 12) on a 3 of 17 shot; it was only the second time in his last nine games with less than five 3 points. He committed his second foul less than 3 minutes into the game and made his way to the bench, where Poole, in his second game out of starting lineup this season, was ready to enter.
It was clear that Poole had embraced his new role. He provided an immediate spark plug with a pair of 3s – the Warriors’ first points from a source other than Wiggins – and led the team in the scoring, despite coming off the bench.
“We needed all of his 32 points,” Kerr said. “The first foul issues with Steph changed our rotations. What a luxury to be able to come off the bench with a guy who just started the first 35 games, or whatever. Jordan has become an essential player for us and he will remain so with the guys back, even coming off the bench. ”
In addition to his five points, Green scored from the crowd roars with two blocks: one over PJ Tucker on a 3 second quarter corner that flew out of bounds, despite Green’s best efforts to save him, and at the end of the fourth quarter, under the basket over Omer Yurtseven, which led to an emphatic finish by Poole on the other end who made 115-104, having finished the game at the foul line.
Six of Green’s assists came in the first quarter, helping the Warriors open a 28-15 lead. Otto Porter Jr. started the second quarter with two quick interceptions, using the second to prepare Jonathan Kuminga for a quick layup that brought the score to 37-25 with 10:44 remaining before halftime. Barely 4 minutes later, however, Caleb Martin scored three straight runs to tie the score and put Miami ahead, 46-43.
With the returns of Green and Damion Lee, the Warriors have erased all of their players from health and safety protocols. Kerr also brought associate head coach Mike Brown back to the bench for the first time since before Christmas after his own stint in protocols.
Golden State is expected to receive even more reinforcements in the coming weeks, which should make Poole’s transition to the bench permanent.
Before kick-off, Thompson donned his pre-game gear and joined his teammates for pre-game warm-ups, sharing the pitch with Green and Curry at the same time for the first time since the 2019 final, when he tore his ACL in Game 6, kicking off a two-and-a-half-year turnaround that enters its final phase.
After doing the pre-game warm-ups, Thompson flashed six digits on his fingers as he raced back to the locker room. As and when: six days before the long-awaited possible return of the shooting star of the guard, Sunday against the Cavaliers. With just a two-game swing left in Dallas and New Orleans, Thompson’s third consecutive trip will accompany the team.