by Jerry Feitelberg
The Warriors met the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday night in Charlotte. The game with the Hornets was the last stop on a four-game road trip. The Warriors were looking to rebound after a very tough loss Monday in Miami. In fact, the Warriors had three tough games in a row. They struggled to beat Orlando. They struggled in the loss to Miami, and they struggled until halfway through the fourth quarter. They were down by five at the end of the third period. Every time they tried to close the gap in the fourth quarter, they were rebuffed by the Hornets.About halfway through the period, the Warriors found their game and led by Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, they pulled away to record the win 113-103.
The Hornets, coached by Steve Clifford, do not like to run. They, like the Memphis Grizzlies, utilize a deliberate style of play and use a lot of the clock. They also were dominant on the boards, especially getting offensive rebounds, and kept the Warriors from getting too far ahead. The Warriors got off to a good start. Steph Curry scored thirteen, and Kevin Durant had nine, and they were ahead by six 19-13. Charlotte played strong defense and closed the gap to one 29-28 after 12 minutes of play. In the second quarter, Klay Thompson was the man. The Dubs were getting him the ball, and Klay responded with seven. The Warriors, however, could not get separation from Charlotte and the half ended with Golden State ahead by 6 53-47.
In the third quarter, the Hornets outscored the Warriors 33-22 and led by five after three periods. Charlotte started the quarter on a 19-4 run. The Warriors looked like they were out of sync and didn’t get going until late in the quarter. They closed the gap to just two, but the Hornets’ Kemba Walker was fouled making a 3-point attempt with just 1.5 seconds left. Walker made the freebies, and the Hornets led 80-75 heading into the fourth and final period of play. Klay Thompson made 3 free throws to start the quarter, and the Dubs trailed by one.
The Warriors rallied to tie the score at 85. At this point, the refs called Klay for a foul on a three-point shot by former Warrior, Marco Belinelli. Klay, who never loses his cool on the court, and really was angry that he was called for the foul. The refs hit him with a technical and Belinelli mad all four free throws. The replay showed that Klay never touched Belinelli and it was a bad and costly call.
Belinelli was fouled again making a 3-pointer, and he made all three shots again. The Warriors decided it was time to shut the Hornets down. They went small as they installed Draymond Green at the center position. Kevin Durant came to life and scored 16 points in the fourth quarter. KD drove the lane and was fouled several times. He did not miss a free throw. The Hornets could not defend him.With the score 99-96 in favor of the Dubs, Steph hit a three-pointer to put the Dubs up 102-96. The Warriors defense throttled the Hornets, and they were able to pull away and won the game 113-103. It was a dogfight for all 48 minutes.
Game Notes and Stats. The Warriors are now 39-7 while Charlotte falls to 23-23. Kevin Durant led the Dubs with 33 points, 2 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Steph’s line was 28 points, 6 assists, 2 boards, and he mad six 3-point shots. Klay scored 19. Draymond pitched in with 13 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots. James Michael McAdoo had a nice game coming off the bench as he added 8 points and had 7 rebounds.
Charlottes’ leading scorer was Kemba Walker with 26. Marvin Williams had 14, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 15, Nicolas Batum 16, Marco Belinelli 14. Spencer Hawes had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. The Warriors committed 12 turnovers which led to 21 Hornet points. The Dubs scored 28 fast break points, and the Hornets managed to score just 4. Points-in-the-paint went to Charlotte 52-40. The Warriors extended the NBA record to 132 games without 2 losses in a row.
Steph Curry was honored at his high school in Charlotte when they retired Steph’s number. Davidson College also honored Steph by naming “Section 30” at Belk Arena for Steph. The NBA fined Zaza Pachulia $15,000 for hitting a player at the game in Miami Monday night.
The Warriors return home to face the Los Angeles Clipper on Saturday. Game time is at 5:30 pm. The Warriors then play a back-to-back game Sunday in Portland against the Trailblazers. Game time for that contest is at 5 pm.