It was only a matter of time before a game like Monday’s happened. Simply because the Golden State Warriors are too talented and too explosive to be continually held to poor shooting nights behind the 3-point line.
The team entered its contest against the overmatched New Orleans Pelicans as the 26th-best in the NBA in long-ball efficiency at 29.8 percent. After the game, they sat at a semi-respectable 32.4 percent.
That’s the crazy thing about small samples — in this case, just seven games — they tend to obscure even the most obvious truths. Like, for instance, that the Dubs are the best shooting team in professional basketball.
After a couple weeks of playing the facilitator on his new superteam with Kevin Durant, reigning MVP Stephen Curry exploded for 46 points and finally took his place as the sole owner of the record for most 3-pointers made in a game with 13. It came a night after he failed to make one for the first time in 157 games.
If that doesn’t indicate the futility in reading too much in early-season outcomes, I don’t know what would.
While Curry’s performance represented a return to normalcy at Oracle Arena, it was Klay Thompson, the other Splash Brother, who had the more welcome performance. He momentarily shook the slump in which he’d been mired and scored 24 points. It wasn’t dazzling at 2-for-7 from deep, and it was against the team he’d earlier scored 28 against this season. But it was a start, and it might slow down the torrent of questions he’s received about how to get out of a shooting slump, which he confirmed after the game is worse than being in an actual slump.
“I do appreciate my friends’ concern — ‘hey, man, what’s wrong? Are you alright?’ — I’m like, dude, it’s the sixth game,” Thompson said. “I’ll be alright, guys. You’ve seen me catch fire before, it’s just a matter of time.”
While it was against a far inferior opponent, the outing served as a reminder of how potent this offense can be when it returns to its core principles: Ball movement, hitting open jumpers and finishing layups off basket cuts.
The scrutiny won’t go away. Everything is put under a magnifying glass when you add a former MVP to the best regular season team of all time.
But, that’s ultimately the best problem to have. Just ask Alvin Gentry, former assistant under Steve Kerr, and current head coach of the 0-7 Pelicans.
“I love Klay to death, but I’m not worried about Klay,” he said before the game. “I have enough problems on my own. … At the end of the year, you tell me where he’s shooting from 3-points and you tell me where his 3-point percentage is, I think it will be right where it’s supposed to be.”
The urge to nitpick will always be great with this team: Save it for 2017, because they might be a work in progress right now, but that’s an issue 29 other franchises would kill for.