Warriors squash Hawks in homestand opener
ORACLE ARENA — The Warriors have struggled to win games they’re supposed to this season, but they got one Friday.
Golden State expanded an 85-77 fourth quarter lead with a 14-0 run as Atlanta failed to connect for nearly seven minutes.
The Hawks went 0-for-7 from the field and committed six turnovers in the final quarter before scoring with 5:08 left to play, when the game was already out of reach.
The second unit closed the first of three consecutive home games for the Warriors as the starters rested in the 111-97 victory.
Klay Thompson hit the floor midway through the first quarter before intentionally committing a foul so Jordan Crawford could sub in.
Thompson left the court walking directly to the locker room — as TV cameras showed him doubled over in pain in the tunnel — with a reported strained lower back.
Despite Thompson’s obvious discomfort, Warriors head coach Mark Jackson said he was ready to start the second half, but decided to sit him as a precaution:
“He said ‘I’m ready Coach.’…We had a comfortable lead at halftime and I just felt that if we couldn’t win the game without him then we didn’t deserve to win it.”
David Lee scored 12 of his game-high 18 points in the first quarter helping the Warriors take an early lead, and told SFBay this win showed the maturity that is being built within the team:
“I thought the energy we started out with was decent, not great. But we were able to make a run at the end of the first half which was huge … I was really proud of our guys tonight and again the bench provided a great boost.”
The Hawks chipped away at the Warriors 66-52 halftime lead, with Atlanta’s reserve big man Pero Antic going one-on-one with Andrew Bogut.
After multiple crossovers and fakes, Antic stepped back for a 23-foot jumper that went in with ease, cutting the Warriors lead to just four and leaving Bogut shaking his head.
Golden State managed to hold on to their lead heading into the final frame, then opened up to double digits with a trey from Andre Iguodala who then threw down a lob from Crawford with 10:11 left to play for a 92-77 advantage.
From that point the Warriors knuckled down on defense and took advantage of the poor shooting Hawks.
Atlanta head coach Mike Budenholzer said that staying focused and putting forth equal amounts of physical and mental effort is something his team needs to be conscious of. As for the lack of offense in the forth quarter, Budenholzer said sometimes the shots just don’t fall:
“They just didn’t go down. That’s a big part of offense, sometimes the orange ball has to go in the round hole. They [Warriors] are a good defensive team. I don’t think they get enough credit for what they do defensively.”
The Warriors, now 39-24 overall, continue their home stand against Phoenix on Sunday at 6:00 pm.
The Warriors improved to 8-2 since the All-Star break, the second-best record since then behind San Antonio (8-1) and are now a season-high 15 games over .500, the first time they’ve been at least 15 games over .500 since Golden state was 48-33 on April 14 of the 2007-2008 season. … Andre Iguodala scored 13 points to go with five assists in 31 minutes. The Warriors have a 13-4 ledger when he reaches double figures this season. … Jermaine O’Neal scored a bench-high 17 points to go with eight rebounds for his eighth double-digit scoring effort of the season. Golden State is 7-1 when he scores 10-plus this season. … Paul Millsap (right knee contusion) returned from a five-game absence to post team-highs in points (16) and rebounds (seven) in 24 minutes.