For one night, Draymond Green was the ruler of the Splash househould.
After an abysmal 5-of-23 start to the year shooting the longball, Green is now 9-of-14 over his last four games.
With an already tough-to-stop array of outside shooters, when Green shoots the way he did against the Heat (4-6) it makes the Warriors (8-3) infinitely more dangerous. Kevin Durant clarified hoe much so:
“When he’s making shots he’s a totally, totally different player. [He was] 4-for-6 from the 3, and when he’s knocking down that shot, he makes us unstoppable.”
Green’s sharpshooting breakout came in exactly the right game as the Warriors trio of usual snipers — Durant, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson — shot a combined 15-of-47 from the field. While the team as a whole shot a dismal 36.8 percent.
And it proved just enough to give Golden State the win, despite season-lows in assists (20) and points, and failing to break the 100 mark for the first time all year.
Green said that when he’s aggressive, it helps not only himself but all his teammates:
“It does feel good to shoot the ball well, but I think it opens up other things on the offensive end for us, which is the most important. When teams got to honor that it opens up everything else for us.”
The Warriors’ worst offensive performance came in the same game as their best defensive performance. They held the Heat to just 35.4 percent shooting, well below Miami’s season average of 46 percent, and an even sadder 28 percent from deep.
Even with their painful offensive showing, head coach Steve Kerr was as happy as ever after the game:
“I thought it was our best defensive effort of the year, it was tremendous. We forced 23 turnovers, we were attentive on our switching. … I thought we made really good decisions out there.”
The Warriors also held the Heat’s starting five to just 34 combined points.
The length of the Heat bothered the Warriors early, with Curry even getting two first quarter 3-pointers blocked, an incredibly rare feat to see in a game let alone a single quarter.
They also forced the Dubs out of their normal unselfish offense, making them settle for iso after iso, which in turn grinded the game down to a slow jog.
Kerr likened the early-November to a playoff win, where nothing is falling but you still have to find a way to win:
“We didn’t have a ton of open looks, it was a slog. But it’s a good way to win a game because it’s a reminded that if we’re tough and we’re smart, we can win that way too.”
In their almost unwatchable one-on-one offense, the Warriors managed only 10 first-half assists way down from their 31.5 average, topping the 30-mark in seven of their first 10 games.
Durant was able to parlay that type of offense into a season high 10 free throw attempts though:
“When you in the iso situation a lot you can get to the free throw line, and we don’t do much of that here. We move the ball, we catch-and-shoot, catch-and-drive, we try to make quick plays. I’m not going to shoot 10 free throws a night, but it’s nights like this where we needed it.”
Although this won’t be a game that’s on replay during the Warriors’ film sessions, Kerr will happily look past all that because of how impeccable the team was defensively.
And that too was paced by Draymond Green.
The Warriors stay home for the next three games, and take on the new and improved Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday. The T-Wolves are 7-3 over their first 10 games with Karl-Anthony Towns leading the way averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds for the season.
David West sat out Monday for rest, which left Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell to fill his backup center minutes, and the two young bigs played a combined 29 minutes. … The Warriors came into this game leading the NBA in points per game, averaging 120.7 points per contest. They were the only team to score 100 points in each of their first 10 games. This was only the 14th time over the last three seasons that the Warriors have been held under the 100-point mark. … On this date 32 years ago, Chris Mullin made his NBA debut for the Warriors with 15 points.