The Warriors squeak by the Hawks, win twelfth in a row

by Jerry Feitelberg

The Golden State Warriors had to fight tooth and nail to defeat the Atlanta Hawks Monday night at the Oracle Arena. The Dubs trailed for most of the game but rallied in the fourth quarter to down the Hawks 105-100. The game was a thriller, and the outcome was in doubt until the final fifteen seconds of the contest.

The Dubs got off to a slow start as they trailed the Hawks 14-8 in the early going. The Dubs went on a 15-1 run to take a 23-15 lead, but the Hawks clawed their way back and trailed the Dubs 29-27 at the end of the first quarter. The Hawks played their game and refused to let the Warriors get any rhythm. Atlanta, coached by Mike Budenholzer who was an assistant at San Antonio under Greg Popovic, had his team use most of the twenty-four-second clock as they took the lead 42-38. The Dubs tied the game at 44, but Atlanta kept making shots and led by three 53-50 at the half. Klay Thompson put in fifteen for the Dubs while Steph Curry and Kevin Durant were held to 8 points each. Malcolm Delaney and Dennis Schroder had nine each and Tim Hardaway; Jr added eight. The Warriors committed eleven turnovers in the half and looked like they were out of sync.

The Hawks led the entire third quarter. Every time the Dubs got close, the Hawks had an answer. They led by seven 74-67 with just 3:53 left in the quarter. Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala each made a three-point shot to close the gap to just two points 78-76. The Hawks increased the lead to four but backup guard Ian Clark hit a three-pointer as time expired to make it a one-point game 81-80. The Dubs scored the first ten points to start the fourth quarter. Iguodala made two clutch layups to put the Dubs ahead by five 86-81. The Hawks would not fold. They fought back but could not regain the lead. They narrowed the lead to two, but the Warriors fought them off. Steph made a huge three-point bucket to put the Dubs up by eight 102-94. The Hawks know how to play defense too, and the kept the Dubs from scoring. However, Draymond Green stepped up in the final few minutes of the game as he blocked a Dennis Schroder shot and seemed to be everywhere as he guarded Hawks’ center Dwight Howard and guard Dennis Schroder. The Dubs held on to win their twelfth game in a row 105-100. The game was a thriller.

Game Notes- The Warriors are now 16-2 for the season. The twelve-game winning streak is fourth longest in franchise history.  The Warriors big three of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson all scored over twenty points in the game. The Dubs are 8-0 when those three score more than 20 in a game. Durant had a double-double with twenty-five points and fourteen rebounds; Durant blocked two shots too. Steph added twenty-five and three assists and three boards. Klay Thompson knocked down twenty. Draymond Green was fantastic on defense; Green had just three rebounds, but he blocked four shots. Andre Iguodala scored twelve, and he had five assists, five rebounds, and one blocked shot. Andre provided the spark the Dubs needed to get the win. The Warriors committed eleven turnovers in the first half but just four in the second. Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 24. Paul Millsap had fourteen points and fourteen rebounds for Atlanta. The big man, Dwight Howard added fourteen and had sixteen boards. Atlanta falls to 10-8.

After the game, coach Steve Kerr had this to say about the defense and Draymond Green in particular. “That was amazing. Don’t know if I ever saw a sequence like that. Incredible defensive sequence. (Green) can guard anyone in the league. Defense in the second half was great. I thought Andre was brilliant. He played with great energy, such a great basketball player.”

The Warriors meet the Houston Rockets Thursday night at the Oracle Arena. Game time is at 7:30 pm.

Warriors Stiff Hawks Despite Thompson’s Early Exit With Back Stiffness

By Matthew Harrington

Golden State received a major scare on Friday night, but the visiting Atlanta Hawks weren’t the ones striking fear into the Warriors, nor scoreboard a factor as it was during the last engagement between the two teams. The Dubs skated to a 111-97 win at Oracle Arena this time out, outscoring the Hawks (26-34) in three of four quarters, a far departure from the 101-100 dramatic win in Atlanta in January. The drama from the evening, however, came six minutes into play when guard Klay Thompson shuffled off the court with a back injury, sitting out the rest of the evening.

The Warriors stated that Thompson, a talent on the cusp on super-stardom, was held out as a precautionary measure. His streak of 211 consecutive regular-season appearances, a franchise record, does not appear to be in jeopardy.  Despite only six minutes of playing time, Thompson still managed a point-per-minute output, going 2-for-5 from the field with a pair of free throws.

David Lee topped the Dubs with 18 points in 25 minutes while Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry contributed 13 points apiece. Curry lead the Warriors with seven assists, while center Andrew Bogut had a team-high nine rebounds. Golden State (39-24) connected on over half of their bids from the floor, hitting 43-of-80 from the field for a 54.8 shooting percentage. They also out-rebounded the Hawks 44-36.

Forward Paul Millsap had 16 points and seven boards, both highs for the Hawks, after missing the previous five games with a knee injury. Fellow forward Mike Scott added 14 points. Scott also provided the comedy for the evening, losing his shoe put proceeding to make a three-pointer on the play.

The first quarter saw even play as the Warriors closed out the first 12 minutes with a single-point, 32-31 lead. It appeared to be more of the same for the 2nd quarter, with the Warriors grasping to a 48-46 lead five minutes from the half. Atlanta would be held to just six points over the closing 300 seconds to head to the half in a 66-52 hole.

The Hawks outscored the Warriors 25-19 in the third, the only instance of Atlanta outscoring its hosts in a quarter Friday night. The final frame of regulation opened on a down note for the visitors though as they failed to put a point on the board until Shelvin Mack hit a jumper with 5:07 left to play. By then the Warriors held a decisive 97-79 margin, allowing Golden State to withstand an 18-12 Atlanta run over the waning minutes of play to come out victorious.

Friday marked the first home game for the Warriors after their second-longest road trip of the season, a six-game swing that saw them go 4-2 against Eastern Conference foes. In a flip of scheduling, the Warriors will only play two of the remaining 10 games in March on the road. They continue the three-game home set with a tilt against Phoenix Sunday before the Dallas Mavericks come to Oakland Tuesday night. The Dubs, winners of eight of their last ten, currently sit in sixth place in the Western Conference standings and are four games back of the Los Angeles Clippers for the Pacific Division lead.