If anyone had doubts about the Warriors 14-7 start to the 2012-13 season and thought this team would come crashing back to earth on this lengthy road trip, think again.
The Warriors came up with perhaps their most impressive victory of the young season Wednesday night, rolling into South Beach and beating the reigning Champion Miami Heat on an impressive last second layup by the rookie Draymond Green. The Dubs were hanging with Miami all night long, even holding the lead throughout most of the contest, but what really impressed me was the way they closed the game out down the stretch. As he's been doing a lot recently, Mark Jackson stuck with the small lineup of Jarrett Jack, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee, Carl Landry and a lot of Draymond Green down the stretch, and for the fifth straight time on this 7-game roadie, that group closed out a Warriors win. Klay Thompson led the Warriors charge with 27 points, 7 boards and 4 assists as he thoroughly outplayed Dwayne Wade and did a tremendous job in containing the dangerous off-guard. David Lee also chipped in another 22-13 night to help overcome a bit of an off night out of Steph Curry, and that's another sign that this team is for real. When your top scorer gets shut down, and you still find a way to defeat the consensus best team in the NBA, you know you've got something special going on.
Things have been going so well for Golden State lately, that talk of Andrew Bogut and whether he'll be able to return to get back and contribute to the team this season has shifted to the back-burner. The Warriors have been using a combo of Fesus Ezeli (the defense/rebounding specialist) and Carl Landry (the offensive weapon) to help fill the void left in the middle by Bogut, and although they don't posses the size of the 7-foot Aussie, you can't complain about the results they've been providing. Stephen Curry, who's having an all-star type season, is also helping overcome the loss of Bogut. Heading into this season, Curry was coming off ankle surgery and I don't think anyone knew how he was going to hold up and respond as the season went on. But we're know 6 weeks in, and Curry looks as good as I've ever seen him. He's always been a top-notch shooter with the ability to go to the hole, but his vision, handling and passing skills have come such a long way from when he was sharing the rock with Monta Ellis. He made a behind the back pass off a drive to an open Harrison Barnes the other day that reminded me of a Steve Nash dish. His confidence is growing by the day, and he's becoming the true leader of this team in just his fourth season. The front court has been essential in the Warriors success this year, but the reason why they've gotten off to their best start in decades is because of number 30!