Warriors coach Mark Jackson claims he’s not one for statement games. With exceptions, of course.
Tuesday’s short-handed win at Cleveland?
“For us, it was the best win of the season,” Jackson said. “It was a statement win – and I don’t believe in statement wins – but I believe when you look at a team that has every right to say ‘chalk it up, we’re not going to win’ because four of our top seven players were not there on the floor.”
Thursday’s win against Dallas without Stephen Curry?
Statement win, but for a different reason.
Golden State doesn’t get bonus points for beating a Dirk Nowitzki-less Dallas team at home. It does, however, deserve credit for how it won: with defense.
A block from Andrew Bogut in the final seconds secured the 100-97 win, as Golden State returned to 12 games above .500 for the second time this season.
“We just had to let them know we don’t have to be so dependent on offense, and I think we’ve kind of grown and become confident in that area,” guard Jarrett Jack said. “We allowed our defense to make plays and help our offense.”
If that’s the kind of impact the Warriors can expect from Bogut, the rest of the season won’t be about sustaining the first-half success, it’ll be about building upon it.
The Warriors (29-17) will look to continue building Saturday night when they host Phoenix (16-30) at 7:30 p.m. at Oracle Arena. A win will push Golden State 13 games over .500 for the first time since ending the 2007-08 season 14 games over.
Whether that happens with or without guard Stephen Curry (ankle) remains to be seen. Jackson said Thursday it was in the realm of possibility that Curry would play Saturday and that if it was a playoff or must-win game he would have been in uniform on Thursday.
Curry is officially listed as questionable.
With Curry out the past two games, Klay Thompson has gone for 32 and 27 points. It was the first time Thompson scored 25-plus in back-to-back games in his two-year professional career. He downplayed the importance of his play with Curry sidelined.
“We played great as a team,” Thompson said. “It wasn’t an individual effort; we’ve got a real deep team this year and have a lot of guys who could start on this team.”
Eleven players saw playing time for the Warriors against Dallas.
The Suns are coming off a 109-99 loss at home against Dallas on Friday, but have won three of their past five games including home wins against both Los Angeles teams. Phoenix sits a game ahead of New Orleans for the worst record in the Western Conference.
The teams’ only prior meeting this season came on opening night when the Warriors squeaked out a 87-85 win. Goran Dragic (14.2 ppg) leads a group of six players scoring in double figures.