OAKLAND — It was a lazy Sunday afternoon at Oracle Arena.
On paper, the Golden State Warriors blew out the Phoenix Suns, 133-120.
But a closer examination would reveal a Dubs team that coasted on defense for most of the contest. The Suns are a young team destined for the lottery and they were playing a night after a taxing, fast-paced home game. In other words, they were supposed to be exposed. Embarrassed. Smoked.
The narrative crafters will argue that the Dubs are playing arrogantly, determined to outgun their opponents instead of playing a full game on both sides of the floor.
But when you have three players capable of scoring 30 points apiece on any given night — as Golden State would’ve done if Kevin Durant (29 points) could’ve made his last attempt to join Stephen Curry (30) and Klay Thompson (30) — these November games become more of a battle against “human nature,” as Curry put it after the game.
“Defense is energy,” Draymond Green explained. “… I’m really big on energy. If you don’t bring energy, it’s hard to be focused and locked in. All that stuff goes hand in hand. I think tonight or today — whatever it is now — guys weren’t locked in and that’s on all of us. We talked about it and these are the types of games you have to win.”
It’s too early in the season to sound the alarm about defensive effort. At this time of year, the most important thing is beating the teams you should beat. Which is exactly what happened against the Suns.
What is clear, though, is that the Warriors don’t need a traditional big man to beat subpar teams. Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee combined for 15 minutes and the Dubs pulled away with a lineup of Curry, Thompson, Shaun Livingston, Durant and Green.
There will be many nights this season when Golden State’s sheer talent will carry them past teams.
To borrow one of head coach Steve Kerr’s favorite phrases this season, that’s a good problem to have.