Someone shouted, “We’re back.” From where? One defeat? Back? The Warriors never left. They aren’t a basketball team, they’re a human blitz. So they lost a game. That was eons ago, on the road. What they did Wednesday night was what we expect, what all of basketball expects — a thrashing of an opponent.
You don’t watch the Warriors thinking about who’s going to end up ahead. That’s a given. The defeat that ended the season-opening record win streak was the exception that proves the rule. These Warriors are entertainers. These Warriors are 24-1 in 25 games.
You watch the Warriors the way you watch a great ballet dancer, listen to a great singer; with anticipation suddenly you’ll yell to nobody in particular, “Wow.”
The wow moment took place late in the first half Wednesday night at Oracle. Make that moments, plural. Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry let loose, announcing, “Hey, we’re back home, and we’re going to give you what you paid for.” And did they ever.
Five minutes to go before intermission, Brandon Knight of the Suns hit a 21-foot jumper. Phoenix went up, 42-38. You can go home, children. Thanks for stopping by.
Curry connected on a turnaround, Klay Thompson on a three, Thompson on another three, Curry on a three, Draymond Green on a three, Curry on another three, then with 1:04 in the half, Curry made another three. Game, set and match.
Six three-pointers and 23 points (to four for the Suns) in less than three minutes. A 59-46 halftime lead. All suspense gone. A second half played only because it had to be. And it was either beautiful or awful depending on one’s viewpoint. The Warriors, who held the Suns to 18 the second quarter, allowed them only a point more the third, established a 105-65 and swooshed to a 128-105 victory.
“When Klay and Steph get going,” said Luke Walton still listed as interim coach, “it’s incredible.”
Thompson scored 27 in the third and 43 points total (making 15 of 22; eight 3-pointers) and Curry 25 (10 of 14, two three points. Green had a triple double, 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. The Warriors were wobbly at the opening — “We didn’t want to come out and do what we did,” said Green, but then came the burst
“My teammates can knock down shots,” Green said of his passes, “so I know if I can throw them the ball in the right position they’ll score.”
And score and score.
“Those last couple games Steph turned the point-guard duties over to me when he realized I was close to a triple double.”
Which he got.
“The second and third quarters we really took control,” said Walton, in the understatement of the night. “We really did the job.”
Walton also is doing the job. As you know, head coach Steve Kerr is feeling the effects of spinal surgery, and although he is on the scene — Monday night, we had Walton on the bench, Kerr in the locker room and previous W’s coach Mark Jackson at the ESPN announcing table — he doesn’t get involved once play begins.
The NBA is more a players’ league than a coaches’ league, anyway. And the smart guys let the Currys, Greens, LeBron Jameses and other greats do what they choose. With only 24 seconds to shoot, skill and reaction are more important than tactics. Put a hand in the face of Curry or Thompson, and they’re going to shoot right over it.
“We said before the game, ‘Don’t lose two in a row,” said Green. “Curry said, ‘Let’s protect our court.’”
They protected, they romped.