VIDEO: Check out the Warriors’ rout of the Sixers via Phantom Cam
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The Golden State Warriors’ offensive prowess sells tickets in Oakland and beyond. Their ability to score points in bunches is what makes them one of the NBA’s most entertaining teams.
But it’s their defensive work that will set them apart this season. It’s what will make them the contender they appear to be (the contender some of us went out on a limb and predicted them to be this season) through the early stages of this season.
Their underrated defensive work was on display in Monday night’s rout of the surprising Philadelphia 76ers team, a crew that had already scored big wins over the reigning champion Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls in the first week of the season.
The Warriors weren’t having it. They made sure their offensive aggressiveness worked double-time for them. They attacked Sixers rookie Michael Carter-Williams, taking him out of the comfort zone he’d been in with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson attacking him non-stop, and unleashed Andre Iguodala on his former teammates in a way that put both teams in a different light after the Warriors were finished.
Mark Jackson‘s team is not the one-trick outfit you assume them to be, as Marcus Thompson II of The Oakland Tribune pointed out in the aftermath in Philly:
Curry attacked him relentlessly on offense, either losing him off the dribble or running him off screens. He set the tone for Golden State’s vibrant ball movement, which had the offense clicking from the outset. Through three quarters, the Warriors had 98 points on 49.3 percent shooting with 25 assists on 37 made baskets.
On the other end, the Warriors dispatched Thompson to use his size and length to keep Carter-Williams out of the paint. Carter-Williams finished with 18 points on 4-of-17 shooting with four assists, six rebounds and six turnovers.
With the head of the snake in check, the 76ers managed just 35.2 percent shooting with a season-high 24 turnovers and a season-low 19 assists.
“I give them credit,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. “They’re a very underrated defensive team. … They’re noted for their offense, and they’re noted for their barrage of 3-point threats and scorers, but they actually are an excellent defensive team with all the pieces.”
Brown’s perspective should be duly noted by other coaches who will face these Warriors this season. They are a deeper and more experienced team than they were last season.
They’ll also be more formidable on the defensive side of the floor with the addition of Iguodala, not to mention healthy bigs Andrew Bogut and David Lee.
But the real beauty of what Jackson has working with the Warriors this season will be his unleashing of Curry and Thompson as whirlwind offensive forces that put so much pressure on opposing backcourts to either keep pace with them that they force said opposition into uncomfortable positions all over the floor.
The ability to deploy Curry and Thompson in that way is what will elevate the Warriors this season and allow them to become much more than just an offensive machine.