Ding dong, the losing streak is dead! Curry's return brings swagger back to Warriors
Additionally, Wiggins put up another stellar performance and Wiseman took another huge step in his development.
The Golden State Warriors shook off their four game losing streak with a feel good 116-102 home win over the struggling Chicago Bulls. Stephen Curry battled through pain to ball out, Andrew Wiggins put another All-Star into solitary confinement, and James Wiseman had a career night.
Let’s get into it!
Wardell is unstoppable in return from injury (per usual)
Curry’s return from his debilitating tailbone injury helped bring some joy after a losing streak so depressing that Golden State endured the indignity of tanking conversations. His 32 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists in 30 minutes provided a much needed energy boost to a Warriors offense that had been slumping in his absence.
Every time he got knocked down to his butt he send shockwaves of worry throughout the fanbase. But when he got back up, he’d operate on Chicago with surgical precision, sending shockwaves of fear through their defense.
When Unanimous retires, we’re gonna need a special DVD dedicated to his returning-from-injury games. Off the top of my head there’s the “I’m Back” playoff game against Portland, the hellfire he dropped on New Orleans in Game 2 of the 2018 playoffs, and the “BANG!” game.
We may have to add last night’s bounceback from the bum tailbone to the DVD, because he was a real pain in the ass for the Bulls.
Minnesota’s trash is another team’s treasure
The Warriors front office has been heavily criticized for not developing enough of their recent draft picks into key assets. But for as much flack as they get, they are light years ahead of other NBA franchises, like the Minnesota Timberwolves for example. Last night Andrew Wiggins and Zach Lavine battled in San Francisco; two former Minnesota teammates and high draft picks who quickly went from alleged franchise saviors to trade bait.
Wiggins had the better showing last night, tallying up 21 points with a season high 5 assists on an efficient 8-of-15 shooting (3-of-5 from 3PT range). Lavine was shackled to 12 points on 4-of-16 shooting with 4 turnovers, with much of that lockdown coming from Wiggins himself.
Minnesota didn’t have either the patience or the environment to develop these two guys into franchise mainstays. Now these two hoopers are finding major roles elsewhere. The Bulls may be struggling, but it’s clear Lavine has star power. He’s matured into an efficient All-Star whose name constantly pops up in Dub Nation’s trade fantasies.
Meanwhile Wiggins is quietly carving out his spot as an elite role player with stingy defense and the scoring punch to be a legit secondary scoring option besides Curry. Can you imagine how effective he could be as a third option when Klay Thompson’s back?
Back to Minnesota: This isn’t the first time Golden State has profited from their dysfunction. Let’s not forget Minny passed over Curry in the draft…TWICE! Can you believe that so many Dubs fans were depressed about trading D’Angelo Russell for Wiggins and Minnesota’s pick? Every day that trade looks better and better.
Wiseman takes another step in his development
Dub Nation likes the pick and roll. So does Curry! But you know who really seems to like it? The giant rookie James Wiseman.
The Warriors targeted Chicago’s slow-footed bigs with a variety of PnR actions involving Wiseman, and I encourage you to check out our friend Joe Viray’s rewatch thread to see the intricacies of how the Dubs picked on the Bulls defense. Last night we saw Wiseman play big as the roll man in the PnR, throwing down an assortment of lobs and jams on his way to 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Even if he didn’t get the ball, he still was a threat that drew defenders.
Defensively he got caught jumping early and fouling on a few pump fakes, but showed signs of being an intimidator around the rim with a career high 4 blocks. Wiseman is 7-feet tall, but sometimes his height has been negated by poor positioning and slow reactions. This is typical fare for 19-year old centers learning a grown man’s game. He’s gradually showing better understanding of where to be and when to jump, a great sign for his development.
Ooooh… I like that. Can you believe the Warriors have a top-10 defense with Wiseman just starting to figure out how to defend? Warriors coach Steve Kerr and his staff deserve a ton of credit for holding this unit together. KEEP DEVELOPING THIS SQUAD, COACH!
The Dubs continue to crush the weak; currently they have a 13-4 record against teams with losing records. They completed a season sweep of the woeful Bulls and now turn their eyes towards a tricky back-to-back against the Heat and Raptors. The Dubs have victories over both of those teams already, can they take the brooms they smacked the Bulls with and sweep those other two Eastern ball clubs?