Warriors, winners of 10 in row, can still be better
BOSTON — The scariest part of the Golden State Warriors‘ dominance these days is that they aren’t impressed anymore by their own success, not even after rattling off their 10th straight victory, a 115-111 win over the Boston Celtics inside a raucous TD Garden on Saturday night.
The win gave the group its sixth straight season with a winning streak of at least 10 games, a mark matched only by the San Antonio Spurs, according to ESPN Stats & Information. After a rocky first half of the season, the Warriors appear to be hitting their stride and are of the belief that they can still get better as they continue to weave center DeMarcus Cousins into the fold.
“Probably the best thing we’re doing now is taking care of the ball,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “Playmakers are making the right decisions more times than not, getting shots up — that’s obviously when the talent takes over. Our defense has been better. People are settling into rotations with DeMarcus, and we got an edge about us.
Warriors star Stephen Curry told ESPN on Friday night that he planned to join brother Seth in the All-Star 3-point shootout in their hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.
“It hasn’t been perfect, and we know we can still be better. We’ve talked about putting a run together for a while now, and we’re right in the middle of a really good one. You want to create good vibes, especially with the All-Star break coming up, and continue to build momentum the second half of the season.”
To understand just how dominant the Warriors have been recently, consider that they are averaging 128.6 points per game in this stretch, the most points by any team amid a winning streak of 10 or more since Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led the Los Angeles Lakers to 129.2 points per game during the 1984-85 season, according to Elias Sports Bureau data.
After it was over, the Warriors were happy with the win but didn’t outwardly celebrate any harder than they would have after any other game during the season. Although beating one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams on its home floor is impressive, the Warriors have always believed that the only team that can beat them is themselves.
“Our guys competed,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We did everything we needed to do. It’s a great win against one of the best teams in the league on the road in that atmosphere, so it was exciting.”
While most players seemed to take the game in stride, Kerr offered high praise about the state of the league’s elite teams in the wake of his group’s most impressive wins of the season.
“They’re one of the best teams in the league,” Kerr said of the Celtics. “They’re great defensively, and they got dynamic offensive players that are already one of the best, so it’ll be interesting to see this year with LeBron [James] out of the East who comes out of the East, and we got a lot of work to do to also get out of the West. A lot of great teams this year. I think the league is better this year than it’s been in a long time.
“A lot of great teams, but Boston is clearly a great two-way team, and that’s what it takes in the playoffs.”
For his part, Curry acknowledged that the Warriors and Celtics seem to “bring the best out of each other” over the years, but the Warriors stayed focused on the task at hand after the game, trying not to get pulled into the discussion about whether this game was a Finals preview.
“I’m trying to just embrace tonight,” Warriors swingman Klay Thompson said. “And Indiana on Monday. Because if you start thinking of June, you overlook the process, which is the most fun thing about it.”
The process for the Warriors has gotten much smoother of late, especially over the past week since Cousins returned. Cousins, who has yet to play in a playoff game in his career and just finished rehabbing a left Achilles injury, appeared to be enjoying himself throughout Saturday’s game, despite early foul trouble. He finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals in 23 minutes.
“Oh, it was amazing,” Cousins said. “I’ve missed this feeling for a long time. It was incredible, the atmosphere was incredible, the fans were into it from start to finish. I enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun.”