LeBron James and Steph Curry going head-to-head lived up to the hype. Andrew Bogut, the defensive stalwart for the Warriors was out with an injury, and the Warriors started off very slowly. At one point Golden State was down by 21 points. In a game where both teams went on big runs, a 20-2 and 8-0 run kept the Warriors in it against the defending NBA champions.
That Warriors comeback was largely courtesy of the usual suspects. David Lee finished with another 20-10 game (21 points and 11 rebounds on 8-of-15 from the field) and Steph Curry went 8-of-14 from the field for 29 points to go along with five rebounds and seven assists. Harrison Barnes has really come on of late which has been good to see for the Warriors. After averaging 6.9 points per game in January, he has been in double figures in each of the last four games including a 23-point brilliant performance against Phoenix.
Tonight, he attacked the basket, hit a couple of clutch threes and scored 14 points on 5-of-11 from the field and 2-of-3 from three. If he continues to play like this and Klay Thompson hits shots like he is capable of doing, the Warriors will be in a great position when Bogut comes back. Klay Thompson is a criminally underrated defender (often because analysts claim he is below average) who has already exemplified his value as more than just a Splash Brother from three with great defense. He played excellent one-on-one defense in the post against LeBron James, no less.
The final two minutes were a battle of the best players on each team. The Warriors were in the position that they wanted with the final possession as LeBron missed one of two free throws to give the Warriors a chance to win the game with only 23.3 seconds remaining. Steph Curry elected to work quickly and take it to the basket with 14.6 left on the clock. While this counters traditional wisdom of milking the clock, any shot that Steph can take that’s somewhat open is a good one.
This time he hit it for an and-one which, after the free-throw, put the Warriors up by two.
Before solely attesting it to LeBron’s greatness, it should be pointed out that Mark Jackson needed to prepare for this type of situation better. Leaving LeBron to beat one defender is a bad idea. Leave anybody not named Ray Allen and double team him OR sag off in the key and allow Andre Iguodala to really get in his face and prevent a shot like that.
Curry went god mode and LeBron went goat mode
— Elijah Abramson (@ElijahAbramson) February 13, 2014
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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