Had the Golden State Warriors played a game last season where they shot just 5-28 from three and that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for just 32 points, the likely outcome would have been a loss for Golden State. In the 2013-14 NBA season and as that scenario happened on Wednesday against the Boston Celtics, though, the outcome was quite different.
The Warriors had all of the issues previously mentioned against Boston and others that followed. They shot a solid 46.9 percent from the floor, but no one in the lineup scored more than 18 points, only five guys reached double figures, and Steve Blake led the team with only six assists. It didn’t matter, though, as the Warriors left with a dominant 108-88 victory, with the major contribution coming from their defense.
Golden State held the Celtics to just 39.5 percent shooting from the floor and just 26.9 percent shooting from three on the night, as well as forcing Boston into 22 turnovers in the contest. Sure, this is the Celtics who have one of the worst offenses in the league this season that we’re talking about, but the Warriors defense deserves credit as well.
Rather quietly due to the public perception that they’re an offensive-minded team, the Warriors have been one of the stingiest defenses in the league this season. In fact, Golden State ranks third in the league in defensive efficiency, allowing 99.2 points per 100 possessions. Obviously their defensive success is largely due to a full season of Andrew Bogut and the addition of Andre Iguodala, but the Warriors have certainly been a defensive force this season.
As they try to improve their playoff positioning and hope to make a run in the postseason, it’s the Warriors’ defense that is going to be behind any success that they have. Sure, having Curry and Thompson with the ability to go off offensively any night is big, but their defense is the key to sustained success this season. We’ll see if they can keep it going over the last month and a half of the regular season and the playoffs.