Warriors swat away Hornets at Oracle

ORACLE ARENA — For their much-anticipated return home, the Warriors gave their fans what they’d been waiting for: a gritty, hard-fought win.

The Warriors held off a late charge from the New Orleans Hornets at Oracle Arena to win 103-96 and put themselves 1.5 games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for first place in the Pacific Division.

After a seven game road trip, during which they went 6-1, Golden State got off to a rough start, missing shot after shot in the opening minutes of the game.

The Warriors kept their defense solid, though, and eventually, their offense caught up. David Lee led the team with 26 points and nine rebounds, one board shy of keeping his double-double streak alive.

Lee grabbed two rebounds in the last minute of the first half to help give the Warriors a nine-point lead going into the break.

The third quarter was back and forth the entire time, with neither team making two consecutive baskets the whole twelve minutes. Draymond Green made a free throw at the end of the quarter to give the Warriors a ten-point lead, but they would watch that diminish in the fourth.

New Orleans would go on a 7-0 run in the middle of the fourth and, with four minutes left in the game, they would tie it 92-92 on a free throw by Anthony Davis.

But then the Warriors defense kicked in again. They began forcing turnovers, and the Hornets would only score four more points on the night.

The Warriors sealed the game with a 6-0 run: Jarrett Jack gave the Warriors the lead on two free throws, followed by a Stephen Curry jumper, and two Draymond Green free throws.

The Warriors continued to do what they’ve been doing all season. As a team, they had 44 rebounds to New Orleans’ 33. Golden State is now 16-1 this season in games where they out-rebound their opponents.

They’ve now out-rebounded teams 17 times this year, which is how many times they did it in the entire 2011-2012 season. Carl Landry coming off the bench, and Lee, who was averaging 11.5 rebounds per game coming into tonight, each had nine rebounds on the night to lead the team.

Golden State also continued to get production from its bench. Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack, who have been averaging a combined 23.5 points per game this season, kept that streak alive against New Orleans. Landry finished one rebound shy of a double-double, with 16 points and nine rebounds. Jack also had 16 points and added ten assists.

The Warriors’ success this season is characterized by something it hasn’t been associated with in the last few years – unselfish play. The fluidity of the passing game showed evidence of this team’s chemistry. As the season goes, each player seems comfortable in their role, and the team seems to gel more and more.

And showed us that, perhaps, the best is yet to come for the Warriors this season.