The Golden State Warriors made another statement Wednesday night with a 126-113 victory over the Houston Rockets.
The game was hyped going in because both teams are Western Conference contenders, and video surfaced of James Harden making a pre-game speech in which he said of the Warriors, “They ain’t even that good.”
The Warriors went out and clubbed the Rockets, leading 102-78 going into the fourth quarter, before the Warriors’ garbage time lineup was out-scored by Houston’s.
After the game, Warriors forward Draymond Green sarcastically responded:
“We not that good. You saw it, you don’t got Twitter? You got Instagram? So I’m sure you saw it, right? We not that good… [Harden’s] right. We’re nowhere near where we’re going to be end of this year. We’re going to have to continue to get better and stay healthy. And then we’ll look back at this point of this season and say, ‘Man, we weren’t that good.'”
ESPN’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss highlighted two amazing stats about this year’s Warriors team: Their point differential is the highest in the NBA since the 1996, 72-10 Chicago Bulls, and they have outscored opponents by more in the first half than any other team has outscored opponents in entire games.
The Warriors are dominating and own a league-best 34-6 record. According to John Hollinger’s Playoff Odds, the Warriors are expected to finish with a 68-14 record, which would be the best regular season record of any team in the last 18 years (the 1996-97 Bulls went 69-13).
ESPN showed a graphic last night that showed the Warriors’ all-around excellence this season. They’re first in several key offensive and defensive categories:
The most surprising part of their dominance is how the team is largely the same as last year’s sixth-place, 51-31 squad. The Warriors were expected to be good entering the season, but they made few changes other than hiring Steve Kerr as their head coach, and bringing in a few different players to their bench unit.
Kerr has made some lineup switches — notable players like Andre Iguodala and David Lee are coming off the bench while young forwards Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green are making huge strides as starters — but the improvement is mostly internal. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are both All-Star guards, Andrew Bogut is a great defensive anchor, and around those three are talented, versatile pieces that fit well together.
Nobody saw this type of dominance coming. Heading into the NBA season, only Strauss at ESPN predicted the Warriors to win the West, and 20 of 28 ESPN analysts predicted the Clippers to win the Pacific Division.
Most people agree that this is as wide-open an NBA season as there has been in recent years, and the Warriors still have some issues. They have lost some notable games to other Western Conference contenders like the Clippers and Thunder, and any lasting injuries to Curry, Thompson, Bogut, or Green would be costly.
But midway through the NBA season, the Warriors have to be the current favourite as NBA champions.
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