James Michael McAdoo motioned to the crowd with both arms outstretched and his palms up. His lips moved in a cadence that syncs with the words “make some noise.”
It was all over after that.
The Warriors beat the Phoenix Suns 128-103, led by 43 points from Klay Thompson and 25 from Stephen Curry. After McAdoo’s second quarter effort to bring the crowd into the game, the game evolved into a compelling show of prestige and beauty.
The Warriors (25-1), coming off their only loss of the season on Saturday, looked mortal at times. Especially when shots weren’t falling and a few sloppy turnovers spoiled any momentum they hoped to build.
Interim head coach Luke Walton said:
“I feel like we had that road trip hangover in the first quarter and we just weren’t sharp. We were trying to do things the right way. We had some good looks. But we weren’t sharp with what we were doing.”
Credit McAdoo, perhaps, as he tried to play the part of Kent Bazemore for a moment while his team was looking for answers wherever they could get them.
The Warriors stalled offense didn’t pick up immediately after, but the mistakes began to fade and the ball started rolling the right way, highlighted by a one-handed shot from inside the paint by Stephen Curry, and two consecutive treys from Klay Thompson.
“Just making the right play and moving the ball. Making back cuts and making the defense react. Finding a good shot. Brandon Rush took that opportunity in the first quarter to get us going. He was aggressive, took his open shots and knocked them down. I think that softened the defense up when we got some stops in transition.”
The eight point swing took all of 42 seconds, though it felt even shorter than that, like watching a lion devour its prey during a National Geographic special.
Golden State never let off the gas after that, with Curry launching his shots from the perimeter, joined by Draymond Green and whomever wanted to join the party.
They entered the half having rattled a young team not near the class of the defending champs, and quite possibly the best team in NBA history with a 26-6 run that was more influential than dominant.
Put simply: Phoenix (11-16) was schooled by Golden State.
An 11-3 run in the first three minutes of the third quarter helped continue the Warriors’ run that started just after McAdoo trying to get hype. By the end of the third, the Warriors own score was in the triple-digits and the Suns trailing by 40 points.
With Golden State appearing mortal for a few minutes, comes an undeniable feeling that a storm of made three pointers, blocked shots and gymnastic level dunks are coming.
That’s what happened Wednesday, with Curry complementing his 25 points with seven assists, and Draymond Green notching his fourth triple-double of the season with 16 points, 10 assists and 11 boards.
Walton didn’t realize that Green accomplished the feat, but considers it the way it should be, because the Warriors system placates to the small forward so well.
Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek said:
“It’s their whole team. That is why they won a championship. That is why their first loss came the other day. They have a lot of guys who know how to play and who can shoot it in the hole. You try and stop those guys and then someone else will pick it up.”
Thompson scored 43 points, a season high, and more than one-third of the Warriors total points. He was on fire, so much so that Curry dismantled a play that Walton drew up in favor of one that would get the shooting guard the ball.
“We got a bucket off it, too.”
“When (Thompson) or Steph get going, they’re such great shooters that it’s really incredible what they do. The difficult shots that they make look so easy. I don’t know, as a defense, how you stop it. Because we have other really good players on the court too, so when you double one of them, someone else is going to get open.”
The Warriors’ blazing third quarter included 46 points, the most scored by any NBA team in any quarter this season, also shooting 80 percent from the floor and 66.7 percent from beyond the arc.
With the win, the Warriors begin a new winning streak that brings their record to 25-1. They duel with the Milwaukee Bucks (10-17) Friday night at Oracle Arena, not one week after Golden State took their first loss of the year to Jabari Parker and company.