Pick your poison: Dubs' camp vision becomes reality in win originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO – When their 17-point lead disappeared under an avalanche of turnovers and open 3-pointers Friday night at Chase Center, the Warriors were undoing their good work and keeping alive Utah’s hopes for a comeback victory.
And yet, even after the Jazz took their first lead, midway through the third quarter, there never was a moment when the Warriors seemed seriously in danger.
They had, for the first time this season, the power of four, the threat they had visualized since training camp opened in September. The factor they believe could separate them from the rest of the NBA moved from vision to reality.
All four of their most dangerous scorers – Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole – united Friday night for the kind of performance that allowed the Warriors to overcome their worst tendencies.
With the foursome combining for 92 points coming off pretty much every shot imaginable, it was enough to render irrelevant Golden State’s 21 turnovers and pocket a 129-118 victory over the young but plucky Jazz.
“It’s huge and it’s great for us,” Draymond Green said. “For an opposing defense, when you have to pick your poison and you’ve got four guys scoring like that, it’s incredible.”
Though it surely helped that “non-scorers” Kevon Looney and Green combined for 23 points, the Curry-Thompson-Wiggins-Poole combo carried the weight that ensured victory.
After the Jazz took their first lead, 71-70, with 7:26 remaining in the third quarter, the foursome combined for 50 points over the final 19:34.
“Jordan’s second half was just so much better than his first,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He looked in a rush in the first half. Then, in the second half, he was just totally under control. Played a great half, and his play late third (quarter) and early fourth was a big key.”
Just wait, the players were saying before the season. There will be a game when all four of us get it going and it will be too much for defenses. Finally, in the 20th game of the season, there it was.
Curry finished with a game-high 33 points. Thompson and Wiggins each totaled 20, and Poole added 19. The success was built on efficiency, as they shot a collective 47.3 percent from the field, including 43.6 percent from deep.
Up to now, the offensive thrust has been mostly a product of Curry and Wiggins, as both Thompson and Poole struggled to find buckets. Thompson’s first game with at least 50-percent shooting came one week ago against the Knicks. Poole is shooting 41.1 percent from the field and 30.9 percent from distance.
“Obviously Klay turned the volume up in terms of his shooting and decision making on offense,” Curry said. “Jordan was just being aggressive; that’s all that we want him to do. To be aggressive, we will live with the results of him putting pressure on the defense. Obviously, Wiggs is shooting the ball at a high level.”
“We have a little more clarity on how we connect defense and offense and then everybody starts to get shots and the flow of the game is a lot better. It all goes together in terms of making the right simple play. Then usually the ball will find open guy. We have confidence in whoever that is.”
This was as visualized two months ago. Curry drawing his usual horde of defenders, with Thompson and Wiggins and Poole making defenses pay.
“Those are always going to be our main scorers, just the way we play,” Kerr said. “Draymond and Loon are going to be setting a ton of screens and distributing the ball, so we need scoring punch that comes from that group."
The Jazz scored 22 points off Golden State’s 21 turnovers, and it had no effect on the outcome. The Warriors led by 19 with 5:11 remaining before Utah narrowed the gap in garbage time.
When you have four perimeter players, each capable of a 30-point game, it can drive defenses dizzy. This foursome won’t always score as efficiently as it did on this night, but this was enough to put the league on notice.