The Warriors are real.
And they’re not going away either.
If you had any doubts about this Golden State team, Monday was the night for them to show up.
Down 15 to a super-talented Hawks team — an Eastern Conference finalist from last season — the Warriors, who were on the second night of a back-to-back, could have packed it in, with ease.
Call it a schedule loss. Start looking forward to Minnesota on Wednesday.
Instead, they did, well, the opposite.
The Dubs blew the doors off the Hawks in the third quarter — what’s new? — Monday and Steph Curry dropped 50 in 35 minutes to upend Atlanta 127-113.
Curry was the hero — again, he had 50 points — but everyone was in on the action. Andrew Wiggins and Gary Payton II had excellent defense on Atlanta star Trae Young, Juan Toscano Anderson matched Atlanta’s frontcourt athleticism and knocked down three 3-pointers, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala were steady hands, and Jordan Poole and Damion Lee had nice two-way games.
There’s no argument about whether the Warriors are a well-rounded team. The only question at this admittedly early juncture is if they’re the most well-rounded team in the NBA.
And while Golden State isn’t totally reliant on Curry to be a supernova on a nightly basis this season, no one has ever turned down the best show in sports.
“That was just a stunning performance by Steph,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Curry’s 14-for-28 shooting night (he also had 10 assists, seven rebounds, three steals, and a block). “He was amazing. I want to say I’ve never seen anything like it, but I’ve been watching it for seven years.”
“When you get it going, you just keep going,” Curry said. “The third quarter was awesome.”
The Warriors’ record and their stats can point to them being the best team in the NBA. It’s early, but they might just be that.
How long will that last? That’s anyone’s guess, but there’s simply nothing flukey about this Dubs team.
They’re the real deal.
The question isn’t if this team is at a high level, it’s how many other teams are in their class?
Not one, not two, but three dunks for Andre Iguodala on Monday.
Yeah, the day off Sunday, the first leg of the back-to-back vs. the Rockets, looks like it helped.
IGGY GOT pic.twitter.com/q8CcwWvPSs
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) November 9, 2021
I’ve written about Iguodala sandbagging the last few seasons, preparing for a return to the Warriors, but he can’t even hide it anymore.
He’s been a perfect pickup for the Dubs. A solid defender, an operator with the ball in his hand, and clearly a high flyer.
There’s a tremendous amount of the season remaining, but if the Warriors can keep this Iguodala around until the spring — a big ask, no doubt — the Dubs are going to be a force then, too.
Give the kid some run
I loved Kerr’s decision to substitute in rookie Jonathan Kuminga in the first quarter of Monday’s game.
Down Otto Porter (load management) and playing a team with top-tier athleticism in the frontcourt, Kuminga made a lot of sense at the moment.
And while the youngster looked every bit like a teenager on the court, the Warriors need to find spots for him to pick up that experience. Not every game will be against the Thunder and the Rockets — but there are moments and matchups like Monday’s.
The Warriors might be “chasing wins” but they’re still trying to develop young players, too. While a couple of minutes of Kuminga vs. the Hawks isn’t going to turn the kid into a starter, but it’s a nice start.