Despite missing Stephen Curry, Patrick McCaw and Draymond Green, the Golden State Warriors soundly defeated the Charlotte Hornets with a final score of 101-87. The Warriors played one of their best defensive games of the season and got outstanding performances by Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, who picked up a triple-double in the process.
The Warriors would open up the game playing stifling defense as the Hornets found it difficult to get anything going. Of the open shots they were able to generate, they weren’t able to get them to fall. Golden State was able to hold them to 30% shooting from the field.
Unfortunately, Zaza Pachulia tweaked his shoulder on a play and would have to leave the game, shortening an already shallow bench.
Quinn Cook, who got the nod to start in place of Curry and McCaw, was understandably timid to shoot in the first few minutes, considering he was sharing the court with Thompson and Durant. But he quickly settled in after Durant found him in the corner for his first 3-pointer as a Warrior.
Speaking of Durant, he made sure that the absence of Stephen Curry wouldn’t be felt as much as some may have predicted. He stuffed the stat-sheet, scoring 16 of the Warriors’ 26 points for the quarter on very efficient 6-for-9 shooting.
Warriors 26 – Hornets 18
The trend of smothering defense and efficient offense continued into the second quarter as the Hornets would start off going 1-for-9 from the field while the Dubs would find scoring contributions from a number of players.
Nick Young got his swag on hitting back-to-back 3-pointers.
Andre Iguodala did all the defensive things we love him for.
Thompson unabashedly nailed 3-pointers, maintaining his pace to conquer his season quest for the heralded 50/40/90 (50% FG, 40% 3PT, 90% FT).
And the Durant-to-Cook connection happened again.
Essentially, even with one of the splash brothers down, the team ensured it would rain.
A very active defense helped the Warriors build a 26-point lead as they held the Hornets to ~25% shooting and picking up six steals. It looked like our opponent wouldn’t even break 30 points for the half.
But then Kemba Walker said, “ENOUGH!”
He put his team on his back, scoring nine points and seemingly inspired his teammates to finally hit some shots. They cut the Warriors lead down to 15 as the teams entered halftime.
Warriors 53 – Hornets 38
The teams mostly traded runs throughout the third quarter as the Warriors couldn’t fully break away. This was largely due to Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist playing very tight defense on Thompson and Durant, forcing other Warriors players to beat them.
Unfortunately nobody could really get it going and the Warriors mostly relied on some amazing bail out Durant plays.
Meanwhile, Dwight Howard — who I completely forgot played for Charlotte — decided that tonight would be the game he would make a ritual sacrifice in exchange for the ability to hit free throws competently, going 5-for-6 from the line in the quarter.
Batum would add some timely offense towards the end to help the Hornets take a nibble out of our halftime lead, cutting it down to 11 going into the final frame.
Warriors 79 – Hornets 68
Things started to look a little dire near the half-mark of the quarter as the Hornets cut the lead down to seven on a Walker 3-pointer.
Was this going to be another 20-point blown lead for the Warriors?
They were looking tired and things began to stagnate on offense despite the defense holding up.
But then, Thompson splashed this 3-pointer and the Warriors never looked back after that, rebuilding their lead to 16.
Kevin Durant would earn himself a triple-double (his second as a Warrior) and the Warriors would walk away with their 6th straight win.
Warriors 101 – Hornets 87
Despite chalking up another solid win, the Warriors are leaving with another injured player in Pachulia.
They will be going up against the Detroit Pistons on Friday and the coaching staff will have some roster decisions to make in regards to all the injuries. Even though it would be awesome to complete a 6-for-6 wins on this road trip, it might be best to allow some of our guys sit out and heal up.