1) Klay Thompson misses David West and Andre Iguodala as much as Stephen Curry
People know that Steph’s game opens so much up for Klay, but he likely misses having David West and Andre Iguodala out there almost as much. West is such a great passer on the second unit, and it’s clear they have chemistry on backdoor cuts and timing off screens. With Andre, he knows when to get Klay the ball as well — obviously better than Nick Young and Omri Casspi. He can drive and kick way better, and he’s also played with Klay for several years, so he knows where and how he wants the ball.
For a guy who is such a huge catch-and-shoot threat, the teammates who pass him the ball are critical to his productivity — especially when long athletic guys like Andrew Wiggins play him as tight as he did this game. His shooting window gets that much smaller.
2) Speed catches up with Quinn Cook
Once again the Warriors — missing Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, David West, Jordan Bell, and Patrick McCaw, came close to winning a game against a lesser but likely playoff team. Though the Wolves are missing Jimmy Butler, I’m fairly confident with full healthy lineups on both sides the Warriors win this game 8 out of 10 times.
Quinn Cook played solidly in the first half. He had a few nice passes and hit a couple early shots, and you could feel his confidence growing. But as the game wore on, NBA speed seemed to catch up with him. Passes he’s probably used to throwing in the G-League were tipped or off the mark, and his badly blocked layup attempt in the game’s final minute reminded me of a kid being blocked by his older brother.
He’ll learn though. While I do wonder if Shaun Livingston would’ve been a better bet to be on the floor in the game’s closing minutes, I appreciate Kerr giving Cook the chance to grow and experience a big road game under the bright lights on national television. With Steph’s recurring ankle issues, he might be needed down the road if he makes the playoff roster.
Cook obviously didn’t lose the game at the end, but he also didn’t really help. Maybe this is a good investment in the near future.
3) Who will be the #7 seed?
As of now the Spurs, who might be getting Kawhi Leonard back this week, sit in the 7th seed. That would be unfortunate for the Warriors if he’s even able to get close to 75% of who he’s been the past few years.
That being said, the rest of the teams that might fall into that spot aren’t looking that much easier. If I had to rank the teams currently closest to the 7th seed in order of who I’d want the Warriors to face, it would be as follows:
1. Clippers (please!!!)
2. Jazz (a focused Warriors team plays much better than last time)
3. Timberwolves (like I said above, if the Warriors are fully healthy, I’ll take this matchup all day)
4. Pelicans (without Cousins, AD in the playoffs is still 1-on-5)
5. Nuggets (this would be like a #5 vs #12 in the NCAA tourney: Jokic, team speed, youthful shooting, nothing to lose attitude, and Denver’s altitude bother me in this matchup)
6. Thunder (angry Russ could will them to victory or implode and shoot them out of games)
7. Spurs (if they’re mostly healthy, they’re a confident, disciplined beast)
Either way, it won’t be a cakewalk this year. Portland would actually be a matchup the Warriors could want as well, but they’re a couple games ahead of this pack. At the very least, I hope the Rockets first-round series challenges them as well.
This season has felt relatively slow, but as we reach the playoffs, the narrative is totally different from past years.
I’m looking forward to seeing how this story ends.
4) I like “Scoring Zaza”
Zaza Pachulia has a better offensive game than he’s shown playing with the Warriors four All-Stars. Lately, whether it’s because the team is down so many guys, he feels he needs to assert himself to get playing time, or if he just has a greener light playing with more subs, I like “Scoring Zaza” a lot. If he can make a few buckets a game, get fouled, help the team get into the bonus, those are all positives to me.
You do you Zaza!