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Warriors scratch past Mavericks with three-point barrage

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Everyone from Kevin Durant to Steve Kerr was pleading for Draymond Green to be more aggressive after their loss Wednesday at the Jazz.

Green has been mired in a tumultuous season, which has run the gamut from an on-court altercation with Kevin Durant and resulting suspension, to shooting woes, and most recently, nagging injuries.

It’s no coincidence that when Green came out with his old aggression that the Warriors returned to form with a 120-116 win over the Mavericks Saturday.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Warriors’ locker room at Oracle Arena.

They were also helped by Dallas not even trying to get out on Warriors 3-point attempts, allowing Golden State to put up 24 3’s before halftime and end with 43 total 3’s.

Green said those early 3’s got him going:

“The first time, the bench yelled stay back, ‘No, you better come up.’ Then the second one he was like, ‘Stay back.’ I said, ‘It’s going to be a long night for you champ.’ Like I said, teams are going to play me that way and that’s fine.”

Stephen Curry was the main beneficiary as he got up 17 3’s himself, and when Curry gets his share of 3’s the Warriors are a different team. They are 10-1 when Curry just attempts double-digit 3’s.

But the fact that he’s only reached that number in 11 of his 21 games played is the more pressing issue.

It’s what Warriors Twitter has been clamoring for, and the exact thing Steve Kerr said they weren’t going to do. But when they do, they show just how dominant they can be.

The 3 doesn’t just put their best players in a spot to do what they do best, but it also allows the Warriors to look like the ball-hopping team of old on offense.

Draymond Green was exponentially more aggressive than he has all year, and it all started with his shots beyond the arc.

He put up eight points in the first quarter and including two 3’s and would finish with 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. That marks the first time he’s hit multiple 3’s in a game since October 31, which is also the last time he scored in double-figures as well.

Curry said Green just shooting the ball gives the team a big offensive boost:

“He’s talked about it, it’s no secret, he wants to shoot the ball better. It gives us a nice little energy boost when he shoots with confidence, make or miss, really…During the course of the year we are never going to get too down on guys missing, just take open shots and have confidence and we’ll be fine.”

While Green appeared to bounce back, Klay Thompson is still stuck in transition. He shot just 6-of-15 from the field and missed all five of his 3’s.

He’s in the midst of a season long shooting slump, but it’s been exacerbated over his last five games where he’s shooting just 38 percent from the field and an abysmal 16 percent from deep. It’s also his second game in a row that he’s failed to knock down a 3 after he went 0-of-4 in Utah.

Durant picked up most of the slack pouring in 29 points, including a game-icing 3 with 15 seconds left in the game, and added 12 rebounds and eight assists. But he also got help off the bench from super sub Jonas Jerebko, who hit 10-of-11 shots for a career-high 23 points.

Kerr said his big man gave them a scoring lift but was quick to point out his other contributions:

“He made a whole bunch of shots. He shot the ball really well, but got a lot of offensive boards too. He had four of them and a couple of tip-ins. He had several plays that just got the crowd into it with his hustle. He gave us a huge lift off the bench. “

While the offense finally looks close to normal, its defense was the part of the court that was lagging Saturday. Luka Doncic exploded for 14 points in the first quarter and the pick-and-roll regularly abused the Golden State defense, and it took a familiar Harrison Barnes clanked 3 to finally ice the game.

Up Next

The Warriors get right back on the court Sunday night when they host the Los Angeles Clippers.

Notes

Andre Iguodala shot 2-of-8 from beyond the arc, which is the first time he’s attempted that many 3’s in a game since March of 2017. And he’s shot it at a pretty reasonable clip, making them at over 37 percent on the year.


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