Tonight, the Warriors completed something they’ve never done in their franchise’s history. They went 6-1 on a road trip. After losing for the second time in 2 weeks to the Orlando Magic (10-13), they came to Atlanta and earned their first blowout win of the season. Until now, the Warriors largest win had been by 11 points, a comeback win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Oakland. So for all the momentum lost night against Big Baby and Nikola Vucevic, the Warriors have gained it back with a big win over the Hawks.
It was a Hawks team that they had beaten once before, much earlier in the season at Oracle Arena. After that game, the Hawks had fallen to 3-4 to start the season. But since then, the Hawks had won 11 of 13 and played some of the best defense in the NBA. The Warriors managed to record a season-high in points and assists, but it was also a season high in points allowed for Atlanta. For the 15th time in 16 tries this season, the Warriors won when out-rebounding their opponent. After getting beat on the boards last night the Warriors REBOUNDED (yes, awful pun intended) in Atlanta on their way to a 22 point road victory.
The final punctuation on a great road trip saw David Lee extend his 20-point, 10-rebound game streak extend to 8 games, Harrison Barnes play his best in weeks, with his second 19-point performance against the Hawks in as many games. The bench combined for a season-high 51 points and the Dubs put the game away quickly in the second half. In a season that remains full of questions, the Warriors answered yet again. After a game that was sure to inspire more doubt, they came back with yet another win against a good team. For all their struggles winning games against bad teams, the trap games, they’ve succeeded as well as anyone against teams over .50o and in road games overall. They rank second in the league in wins in both categories, with 10 each, behind just the San Antonio Spurs, the NBA’s best team.
Looking forward, the future provides even more hope. They’re schedule over the next couple games seems to get a little easier before a tough stretch leading into the new year. They also finish the season with far more home games than road, as they’ve played 6 more on the road than at home already.
In a season that has continually seen the Warriors fight back when things seem to take a turn for the worse, the strength this teams shows is starting to become expected. Gone are the days of the fall-apart Warriors, who would crumble in the face of any adversity. This team continues to show the league that it’s for real, and finally showing that they don’t lack the talent to blow a good team away on the road. Arguably, on a road trip where they beat both the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets in comeback road wins, this might have been their best. They took control in the second quarter and never let go.
Hopefully, we can see more of that as the season goes on. A Warrior team that starts to own their place among the league’s best would be yet another step forward for a team that has taken many already this season. Even on another poor shooting night from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, this team was able to survive and even thrive against the Hawks, with yet another example of good team basketball. The Warriors had 5 in double figures, led by David Lee’s 20. Jarret Jack added 13, Landry and Barnes chipped in for 19, and Steph finished with 18 and 11 assists.
But one thing remains true in all but one of the Warriors wins. Rebounding is key. Tonight, they out-rebounded the Hawks 54-45. The question remains, can they continue their success there and on defense without Andrew Bogut? To this point, the answer remains a resounding yes.