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Warriors clamp Pacers, set defensive note for playoffs

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The Warriors returned home to Oracle Arena Thursday after 11 days on the road, and brought with them a 7-foot Aussie — but, more importantly, their defense.

The Warriors returned home to Oracle Arena Thursday after 11 days on the road, and brought with them a 7-foot Aussie — but, more importantly, their defense.

Golden State (48-22) suffocated the playoff-bound Indiana Pacers (44-28) in a dominant 112-89 victory.

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

The defense of the Warriors has been much maligned this season by Steve Kerr and the rest of the team, but they started showing signs of life at the end of their road trip, and it carried over in their return home.

They held the Pacers to just 38 percent from the field and a disgusting 26 percent from 3.

Kerr said that he’s noticed the defense being better the last few games:

“It’s been really fun to see, we’re engaged and active. I think over the last six games now, we’ve been at our best defensively. So it makes a huge difference.”

Draymond Green was the usual conductor on that end, bothering any player in an Indiana jersey in his vicinity. But it was a complete team effort on that end of the floor.

Kevin Durant had three blocks, including a monster on a Myles Turner dunk attempt, and DeMarcus Cousins had two of his own, as the Warriors snuffed out any shot attempt inside the paint.

Stephen Curry said that the team has started to embrace that’s how they are going to win games now:

“Just understanding that’s how we can win games whether we make or miss shots. We want to put more and more games of that together. And I think it’s all five guys. Obviously we had a lot of multiple efforts, good communication and the chemistry in terms of whatever lineups are out there.”

While they were lights out on that end, their offense was a different story. They still managed to put up 112 points on 49 percent shooting, but most of that came when the game was already out of reach.

Every starter reached double figures, but well below what we are used to seeing.

Cousins was the only player on either side who looked like they could get anything to fall for much of the game and finished with a team-high 19 points and 11 rebounds.

He abused Turner on both ends of the court and had numerous soft finishes around the rim, something that had been lacking earlier for him.

Klay Thompson and Curry struggled, scoring just 18 and 15 respectively, but did so on a combined 12-of-33 from the field and 6-of-18 from 3.

Andrew Bogut said that the defense really helped the team overcome those struggles:

“We made them take bad shots in the halfcourt late in the shot clock and turned it over. I mean we shot like 30 percent in the first half and we’re still up 10, usually in this league you’re down 10 or 15.”

Durant was more efficient with a 6-of-9 shooting line but had just 15 points and was more passive and quieter than usual.

While it was a struggle to get any comfortable looks, the Warriors did just enough to open up a gap on the Pacers.

They outscored them 35-19 in the third and with the way their defense was clicking, that was more than enough to put the game away.

Up Next

The Warriors are in the midst of a brutal stretch of three games in four days, which includes a weekend back-to-back set. The first leg will kick off Saturday when the Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks come to town.

Notes

Bogut made his return to Oracle and got not one, but two standing ovations. He finished with four points and seven rebounds in nine minutes.


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