HIGHLIGHTS -- Warriors snap losing streak in New Orleans
The Warriors had lost five of six, and three in a row prior to Saturday night's win in New Orleans. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
In this surprising Warriors’ season – one that finds them at 24-15 as we approach the halfway point – there have been many significant wins.
The win at Miami over the defending-champion Heat on Dec. 12 was probably the Warriors’ most impressive of the season, a 97-95 thriller that gave the team their fifth straight win on a seven-game road trip.
There have been two wins over the L.A. Clippers, a team many believe can challenge for an NBA title this season, and they’ve swept the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks, a pair of Eastern Conference contenders.
The Warriors also have beaten the Mavericks and Jazz on the road, important back-pocket victories over teams they’re going to have to beat out to make the playoffs.
But in a strange way, none of those wins were any more important for the Warriors than their win Saturday night over the Hornets in New Orleans. Yes, the Hornets were 13 games under .500, but it was a ‘W’ the Warriors had to have. And they got it.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Warriors 116, Hornets 112]
The Warriors didn’t exactly come into Saturday’s game reeling, but they were close. And a loss to the Hornets would have put them in that category.
For a day or two anyway, Golden State’s 116-112 win over New Orleans rights the ship, gets the car back on the rails or steadies out the turbulence. However you want to say it.
The Warriors are in the middle of a brutal portion of their schedule, and the Hornets represented a basketball oasis of sorts. No disrespect to them, but they’re not the Miami Heat or the San Antonio Spurs or the L.A. Clippers or the Oklahoma City Thunder. And that’s where the Hornets’ game fell … smack dab in the middle of that stretch.
Only problem was that New Orleans had won six of seven, including a win against the Spurs and consecutive road victories against Philly and Boston.
Add into the mix that the Warriors played without David Lee, potentially their all-star power forward, and it starts to become easier to see how this game turned tricky.
And don’t forget to throw in there that the Warriors were down two inside a minute and that point guard Stephen Curry was struggling with his shooting. Still, they found a way to get it done.
The Warriors built a lead, fell behind, then rallied to the meaningful win in large part behind Klay Thompson’s shooting and Jarrett Jack’s clutch play.
Golden State’s victory snapped it’s longest losing streak of the season at three games, and it gives them a little peace of mind heading into their next tough stretch, which begins immediately. This week the Warriors have the Clippers, Thunder and then a back-to-back on the road against Chicago and Milwaukee.
In other words, it’s still tough out there for the Warriors. Which is why Saturday’s win was so huge.
The Warriors remain in fifth place in the Western Conference, a game-and-a-half ahead of the Denver Nuggets.
If the Warriors continue their nice season and find a way into the postseason, there will be signature wins all over the place. But none of them will be any more important than Saturday’s win against the Western Conference’s 14th-best team, the New Orleans Hornets.