What we learned as Dubs finally win first road game of season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
After seeking a victory on the road for nearly five weeks, the Warriors finally found one Sunday in Houston.
Their 127-120 victory over the Rockets at Toyota Center snapped their eight-game road losing streak and puts them one game away from reaching 500.
It was by no means a fluid victory over the team with the worst record in the Western Conference, as the Warriors tortured themselves with turnovers lapses in rebounding fundamentals that kept Houston in the game.
Stephen Curry made sure they didn’t give it away, scoring 25 points in the second half, including a 29-foot fallaway jumper that closed out the Rockets with 34.9 seconds to play. For good measure, he dropped his signature "night night" celebration.
Here are three observations from night on which the Warriors (8-9) and Dub Nation can breathe collective sighs of relief:
‘Flood gates’ open for Klay
After another frustratingly inefficient game in a Warriors loss in Sacramento one week ago, Thompson took to Instagram and made a vow:
“My belief is stronger than your doubt. I PROMISE you it’s coming. And when it does, the flood gates will open.”
The flood gates indeed opened in the first nine minutes after tipoff, a span during which Klay, making his first six shots, poured in 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field, including 4-of-5 from distance.
When Thompson was subbed out with 3:03 remaining in the first quarter, the Warriors had a 32-18 lead.
Thompson remained in or near “the zone” for the entire game, submitting his first 30-point game this season, finishing with a season-high 41, on 14-of-23 shooting, including 10-of-13 from beyond the arc.
The chatter about benching Klay subsided Friday, after he scored 20 points and shot 50 percent from the field for the first time this season. His performance in this game ought to silence it for good.
Second Unit Blues strikes again
The Warriors used the first 12 minutes to post their most productive quarter of the season, taking a 40-28 lead into the second quarter.
The Rockets needed less than three minutes against the second unit to wipe out the 12-point deficit, taking a 41-40 lead with 9:25 left in the half.
When Golden State opened the second quarter with nearly complete second unit – Jordan Poole, Donte DiVincenzo, Anthony Lamb and Jonathan Kuminga with starting center Kevon Looney – the defense turned to cookie dough and turnovers came in waves.
Houston made its first five shots, scored eight points off five Golden State turnovers and finished the quarter at 63.2 percent from the field.
There have been many games this season during which the Warriors were victimized by their second-unit shortcomings, but this was perhaps the most extreme case of the Second Unit Blues.
It will be exceedingly tough to establish anything positive on the road, much less win games, if this continues.
Steph’s shadow excellence
While Thompson was putting his imprint on the game in the first quarter, Curry didn’t score a single point and took only two shots.
Meanwhile, he was recording seven assists, which speaks to his willingness to keep feeding his hot teammate and bide his time until his scoring was needed.
That came in the third quarter. The Warriors trailed 65-61 at the half, but Curry swung the game their way, scoring 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-5 from distance. The Warriors took a three-point lead into the fourth, and they needed every point.
Curry finished with 33 points, a season-high 15 assists – with only one turnover. Playing 37 minutes, he finished with a team-best plus-22.