Coming off a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Golden State Warriors had a chance to make up some ground in their pursuit of the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference over the weekend. Another disappointing loss later, this time to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and it seemed like the perpetual theme of the season – underachieving – was back in full effect.
It wasn’t just that the Warriors lost to a sorry team like the Cavs at home in Jarrett Jack‘s return to Oracle Arena that made it embarrassing. The Warriors’ bench, which had been doing so well and was largely responsible for Golden State’s recent five-game win streak, was outscored by Cleveland’s reserves, featuring the likes of Tyler Zeller and Matthew Dellavedova (and Dion Waiters, but still). The Dubs also gave up 24 points off of turnovers.
But the biggest problem for Golden State, which has been the case for awhile now, was a definite lack of Splash Brothers action. Although Stephen Curry did his best to carry Golden State with 27 points, the absence of Klay Thompson, who was attending his grandfather’s funeral, was definitely felt as the Dubs went 11-of-29 from the field. In the first half against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Splash Brothers were nowhere to be found and Rip City built an 18-point lead in the third quarter. But then everything changed.
Just. Just. I mean. He. Just sick. http://t.co/Vzrl6SVXCM
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) March 17, 2014
As he often does in the third quarter, Curry started heating up. And then Thompson started knocking in triples. The Warriors were slowly but surely chipping away. Before you knew it, everyone in Portland looked up and saw the lead dwindled down to one point with six minutes to play. From there, Thompson and Curry buried the Blazers with a flurry of threes, free throws and buckets in transition to steal the road win that moves Golden State within 1.5 games of the fifth seed.
Curry and Thompson combined for 64 points, with 51 of those points coming in the second half. Curry had 28 points in the second half and Thompson added 23, including back-to-back clutch three pointers in the game’s final minutes. It was a game that would’ve made Thompson’s grandfather proud, it was a game the Warriors needed to make up some ground in the standings and most important of all, it was a game that signaled the return of the Splash Brothers.
That might seem like a bit of exaggeration, but over the past few weeks Curry and Thompson haven’t exactly been hitting on all cylinders, or at least not at the same time. Against the Clippers, Curry struggled while Thompson finished with 26 points. Against the Cavs it was Curry’s time to score, but Thompson was absent. For the first time in nearly two weeks, the Splash Brothers went back to making it rain. If the Warriors want to move up the standings and advance past the first round of the playoffs, that kind of thing needs to start becoming a regular occurrence.
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) March 17, 2014