ORACLE ARENA — Mark Jackson said it himself:
“We’ve seen this movie before.”
The Warriors head coach knows his team has fallen victim to ugly losses against terrible teams at home.
Orlando went into Tuesday’s contest with a 19-48 record, all but officially out of playoff contention. The Warriors were without Andre Iguodala (right knee tendinitis) and Andrew Bogut (ankle).
With Golden State’s track record, it was a recipe for disaster.
Before the game Jackson used one of his well-known phrases, saying these things are just part of “the process.” But Jackson also admitted to having these problems one too many times, calling his team inexperienced:
“At times we’ve played down to our competition. That’s a sign of an inexperienced, young basketball team.”
But the movie had a different ending this time, as the Warriors shut down the lottery-bound Magic 103-89.
Thanks to Splash Brothers Klay Thompson (20 points) and Stephen Curry (23 points) catching fire in the third quarter, the Warriors went on an 18-0 run and were able to extend a 87-66 lead heading into the final frame.
Curry said that ball movement along with getting defensive stops and moving fast in transition made all the difference:
“I think that’s the best we’ve moved the ball in consecutive possessions. Just finding the right guy and turning down good shots for better shots.”
Early on, Orlando big man Nikola Vucevic took advantage of the small Warriors scoring eight first-quarter points as he had his way with David Lee in the paint.
But after a re-grouping time out, Golden State only allowed Vucevic seven points for the rest of the game.
Looking for some inside help, Jackson called on Marreese Speights who has seen his minutes diminish with the rotation shortening as the playoffs grow nearer.
Speights became the bright spot off the bench, scoring 10 points in the first half (13 on the night) to help the bench close out the game.
Speights told SFBay that he continues to stay ready no matter his position in the rotation:
“I look at it as an opportunity, and as a chance to help the team. I know we’ve got a lot a guys and we’re deep so sometimes coach can’t put me in the game and I understand that. So when I get an opportunity like this I make sure I capitalize.”
The Warriors went into halftime with a 57-47 lead and came out of the break with the hot hand. Curry and Thompson went on a 13-0 run against the Magic, giving the Warriors a more-than-manageable cushion heading into the fourth.
Despite multiple efforts, Orlando never managed to break the double-digit lead, allowing deep reserves, Nemanja Nedovic and Ognjen Kuzmic to finish out the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
Warriors’ back-up center Jermaine O’Neal did not play Tuesday. Jackson joked, saying he was taking a page out of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s book with his reputation for resting veteran players.
Jackson told SFBay it was important to allow O’Neal to rest and get fresh:
“I was getting my Pop on. Just resting him, cause he’s been beaten up. If I had to use him he was available…But I knew going into it that chances were I wasn’t going to use him.”
The 43-26 Warriors continue their five-game home stand against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.
The Warriors held their 20th opponent under 90 points, going 17-3 in those games. … Golden State is now 12-4 since the All-Star Break, with their 12 wins tied for the most (San Antonio) since then. … The Magic lost for just the second time in their last eight trips to Oracle Arena and have lost 20 of their last 21 road games since the start of the new calendar year. … Klay Thompson scored 20 points including 4-of-5 from three and Stephen Curry scored a game-high 23 points including 3-of-6 from three. The two have combined to hit 400 threes this season. After combining for 483 last season, Thompson and Curry are the first duo in NBA history to hit 400-plus treys in consecutive seasons.