Shorthanded Warriors make it look easy, beat Orlando 103-89

By Gabe Schapiro

No Andrew Bogut or Andre Iguodala? No problem. The Golden State Warriors (43-26) didn’t skip a beat despite two of their starters being out with injuries, easily beating the Orlando Magic (19-49) 103-89, Tuesday night, at Oracle Arena. Orlando has struggled mightily this season, but when Bogut and Iguodala were ruled out, the defensive backbones of the team, there is no doubt that it had some nervous for this one. Those concerns were fairly quickly put to rest, however, as all three of Golden State’s other starters picked up the slack. After the first quarter, this contest was rarely ever in any doubt.

The game started as a bit of a dogfight, in a tightly played opening frame that saw 13 lead changes. After 12 minutes the Warriors exited from the fray with a slim three-point advantage. There wouldn’t be another lead change the rest of the way.

Golden State slowly started pulling away from the Magic, and really slammed the door shut in a big third quarter, which saw them outscore Orlando 30-19.  The end of the bench saw some action late, as they eased to the victory.

It was nearly all good signs from the Dubs on this night. It was 14 minutes into the contest before they committed their first turnover. It was the third quarter before they missed their first free throw.

The three normal Warriors starters who did play in this one all had very strong games. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and David Lee finished with 23, 20, and 20 points respectively. Lee finished with a double-double, adding 10 rebounds to his line. Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes got the starting nod in the place of their injured stars, and while both struggled offensively, they chipped in in other ways. Green hauled in nine boards, dished out three assists, and had two steals. Barnes had five rebounds and three assists.

Golden State’s bench, which saw a little extra play tonight, had a strong game as well, particularly Mareese Speights and Steve Blake. Speights hasn’t played much recently, but clearly came in ready to go. He contributed 13 points, eight rebounds, and a block in 23 minutes. Blake also put up double-digit points, finishing with 12 to go along with four assists.

In the loss five Orlando players finished in double figures. Nikola Vucevic led the way with a team-high 15 points. Tobias Harris performed admirably off the bench, adding 14 points and a team-high six rebounds. Their backcourt really struggled, combining for just eight points.

The Warriors have now won two straight, and will look to make it three this Thursday, when they will be taking on the Milwaukee Bucks. The game starts at 7:30 PM, at Oracle Arena.

Warriors End 2013 With Sixth-Straight Win, Longest Streak in Six Years

By Matthew Harrington

The Golden State Warriors gave fans one last victory in 2013, beating the Magic 94-81 Tuesday night at the Amway Center in Orlando for their sixth-straight win. David Lee had a game-high 22 points, coming a rebound shy of a double-double and the Warriors defense limited the Magic (10-21) to an abysmal 38.2 shooting percentage. Golden State (20-13) also dominated the battle of the boards 56-37 to keep their longest winning streak since December of 2007 alive into the new year.

Lee’s 22 points on 11 of 15 from the field came in 27:49 of play, with a large Warriors lead throughout the game allowing the stars some rest to end the year. Klay Thompson had 15 points, while Mareese Speights (10) and Kent Bazemore (12) broke double-digit scoring off the bench. Magic guard Arron Aflalo led his team with 15 points on seven baskets while Tobias Harris topped the hosts in rebounds with nine. Andrew Bogut’s 11 boards were a game-best.

The lead only changed hands once, and it came early. The Warriors pulled even at 8-8 then Thompson hoisted a three-pointer to move Golden State ahead 11-8 3:50 in. The Warriors continued outscored the Magic 15-7 to wrap up the opening 12 minutes for a 26-15 lead. The Magic once again found themselves on the wrong end of the scoring differential, being outscored 32-20 in the second quarter for a 56-35 Warriors halftime edge. Orlando outscored the Warriors 46-36 in the second half, but a hefty first-half lead proved enough for the Warriors to win it comfortably with the star players on the bench.

The Warriors will take off January 1st before putting their winning ways on the line against the defending NBA champions. Golden State travels to South Beach to take on the Miami Heat Thursday for their third of seven-straight road games.