Rewind: Don't try to figure Warriors out, just enjoy them

Rewind: Don't try to figure Warriors out, just enjoy them
April 1, 2014, 11:30 pm
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Things going against us, they were making shots, making plays, and they had all the momentum. It’s a tied-together team and I don’t think you need more evidence.
Mark Jackson

Don’t try to define them or figure them out or predict what they'll do. Analyze them at your own risk.

The safest and sanest approach to the Warriors is to enjoy them, to savor the moment, to admire their incredible wins even as you decry their sobering losses.

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This is, after all, who they are at this stage of their development.

And on Tuesday night in Dallas, the Warriors were magnificent in a 122-120 overtime victory over the Mavericks. In a season where ghastly losses and impressive wins come at a similarly dizzying rate, this conceivably was their shiniest moment.

The Warriors (46-28) won a road game they seemed unlikely to win, particularly considering they were without starting big men Andrew Bogut and David Lee. And Dallas is one of three teams right beneath them in the Western Conference playoff race.

"Absolutely Incredible win for us,'' coach Mark Jackson said.

"A big time win to start the road trip,'' said Stephen Curry, who hit the game-winning jump shot with .01 seconds remaining.

As fabulous as Curry was (23 points, 10 assists, two steals), he had plenty of support. Klay Thompson contributed 27 points, five rebounds and five assists. Andre Iguodala finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Jordan Crawford came off the bench to score 19 points in 16 sizzling minutes.

Meanwhile, Draymond Green, starting in place of Lee, submitted 9 points, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks. Jermaine O'Neal, playing for Bogut, delivered 20 points, eight rebounds and a crucial block in the final seconds.

"These are the wins that feel the best,'' Thompson said. "It’s gut-check time at this point in the season with three teams on our heels. Steph played like a monster, Draymond did all he could to guard Dirk (Nowitzki). The guy makes some of the toughest shots in the league, and it was a real collective effort. I’m proud of everybody. It was a real team win tonight.”

Using crisp ball movement and plenty of movement, the Warriors cranked up their inconsistent offense and shot 57.1 percent from the field, including 15-of-31 on 3-pointers.

Down four (106-102) with 1:43 left in regulation, and Monta Ellis and Nowitzki hitting big shots in the fourth quarter, things looked bleak for the Warriors. But Iguodala and Thompson buried 3-pointers to counteract an Ellis jumper and send the game into overtime.

Four Warriors scored in OT, with Curry sealing the victory. The win gave the Warriors a virtual three-game lead over the Mavericks (44-31) and dealt a mighty blow to their postseason hopes.

"Things going against us, they were making shots, making plays, and they had all the momentum,'' Jackson said. "It’s a tied-together team and I don’t think you need more evidence.''

The Warriors this have had many puzzling losses, most recently to the Knicks last Sunday night at Oracle Arena. Such losses leave their fans lashing out, usually at Jackson. They complain about his coaching style and his curious use of timeouts. They wonder if he knows how to prepare his team for inferior opponents.

But games like this victory against a team on the edge the playoffs are a powerful rebuttal.

Jackson is learning how to coach. His team is learning what it takes. That they've won six games in the final three seconds, most in the NBA is significant.

In the meantime, be careful not to soar to high with the wins and fall so hard with the losses. It's life in the NBA, especially for a team with much to learn about what it takes to become elite.

Iguodala talked after the Knicks loss about valuing each possession and sharing the ball. His teammates heard the message. They finished with 33 assists. They are 5-1 when they have 30 or more helpers.

Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, Green and O'Neal – the starting lineup was stellar.

Crawford's work off the bench was spectacular, and Marreese Speights banged the glass for nine rebounds in 17 minutes.

Speights had four late turnovers that nearly cost the Warriors the game.

How many has it been now? Five? Six? Nine? The unbelievable wins keep coming and they often do so after what should be a devastating loss. This team is as resilient as they come. That's why it's unwise to label them.

They don't overachieve or underachieve. They simply are immature relative to the league's contenders. There will be times when they defy logic, so it's pointless to get caught up in definition when definition is so fluid.