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3 takeaways as Warriors snap losing streak in record-breaking game

© Daniel Dunn | 2023 Jan 13

Against the league’s worst defense, in an arena packed with more fans than any other NBA game ever, the Warriors looked like the defending world champions they’re supposed to be. 

The Warriors (21-21) got back to .500 by taking care of the Spurs in the Alamodome. The 144-113 win came after a string of three embarrassing losses at home — to the Pistons, Magic and Suns without almost all of their regulars. 

Golden State crossed the century mark in the third quarter, and coasted to a season-high scoring night. They played with tremendous pace and energy and enjoyed an even scoring distribution highlighted by 22 from Donte DiVincenzo and 25 from Jordan Poole off the bench. 

The game was so out of hand, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson only needed to log 23 minutes.

Sixty-eight thousand, three-hundred and twenty-three fans witnessed the beatdown live, a number that shattered the previous attendance record by over 6,000. 

The win — only Golden State’s fourth road victory of the year — tips off a five-game trip that includes a visit to Joe Biden’s White House. 

Here are three takeaways from GSW’s commanding victory. 

The Warriors desperately need front court help 

When Kevon Looney picked up three fouls in the first quarter, Golden State was left scrambling to find someone — anyone — to pick up some center minutes.

James Wiseman is sidelined with an ankle injury. Jonathan Kuminga and JaMychal Green are  similarly unavailable. 

In the second quarter, the Warriors went with Anthony Lamb at center, and he was flanked by three guards plus Andre Iguodala. Lamb competed inside, and the unit made an effort to run in transition, but that’s not a sustainable combination. He’s 6-foot-6. 

Steve Kerr has admitted recently that Looney and Draymond Green have been taxed. The Warriors have relied on them heavily, particularly in the stretch in which Andrew Wiggins and Stephen Curry were simultaneously injured. 

They got away with it against the Spurs, but not having enough reliable front court depth will come back to haunt Golden State against more formidable opponents. 

Wiggins looks rusty on the offensive end 

On one play, Andrew Wiggins drove a closeout from the top of the key, got his shoulders past his defender but had the ball stripped out of his hands and off his leg from behind.

He got plenty of open looks from outside, but most of Wiggins’ jumpers fell short. Perhaps he’s still getting his legs under him. 

His first 3 came a minute into the second quarter, when he buried a triple as his defender slipped under a screen. That brought him to 2-for-7 from the field. 

Probably his best scoring moment involved pure athleticism, when he skied for an offensive board and sprung up for a two-handed putback dunk. 

Friday was Wiggins’ third game back from the longest absence of his career — a 15-game stint on the injury report with a groin injury and non-COVID illness. In his first two games, Wiggins shot a combined 9-for-28 (32.1%).

He also stonewalled Zach Collins on a post up on the other end, so at least he hasn’t forgotten how to defend. 

But Wiggins doesn’t look like himself on the offensive end quite yet. He finished with 16 points on 7-for-17 shooting. 

The Alamodome made for a wicked environment

The retro-colored court looked clean and over-the-head, Final Four-style camera angles created a unique feel. 

When the public address announcer took the crowd through San Antonio’s starting lineup, cell phone lights illuminated the massive stadium. At the start of the fourth quarter, fans executed the wave — an affront for San Francisco Giants fans but welcome behavior for a January NBA blowout.

The game hosted the most fans in NBA history, with 68,323 packed to commemorate the Spurs’ 50th anniversary. Spurs legend David Robinson announced the history before the fourth quarter began. 

The previous attendance record came in 1998, in Michael Jordan’s final game in Atlanta. Steve Kerr played in that game, and he coached this one.

 

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