Editor’s note: This is a guess post from Justin Becker of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com. You can follow him on twitter at @NBAFantasyInfo, and for more information on the NBA visit www.FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com – your online source of anything about fantasy basketball.
Riding a 36-point performance from Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors stunned the defending champs, Miami Heat, beating them 123-114 inside the American Airlines Arena. The Warriors extended their winning streak to seven in a row and they are now the hottest team in the NBA.
This game was supposed to be exciting and high scoring. Both teams possess significant offensive weapons. The Warriors have arguably the best-shooting duo in the NBA, in Curry and Klay Thompson, while the Miami Heat have their Big Three, which is usually more than enough. The outcome of the game would heavily rely on defense and on details, which it did.
The Heat did a terrible job closing down on shooters, especially on Stephen Curry. The 25-year old guard is gradually emerging as the best shooter currently active in the NBA, if he is not there already. Also, the presence of Klay Thompson gives another lethal option for the Warriors to use from the perimeter.
And yet the Miami Heat allowed those two to combine for 12-of-24 from beyond the arc. During some stretches of the game, it looked like the Heat cared more about preventing them from penetrating the lanes rather than shooting wide open from downtown.
The Warriors punished the Heat’s options on defense and they just didn’t stop firing from outside. In addition, the superb performance from David Lee, who ended the game with 32 points and 14 rebounds, made Miami’s job even tougher. The Warriors finished the game shooting at insane rates, 56.1 percent from the field and 51.7 percent from three-point territory.
The Heat, of course, tried to respond. LeBron James took over and cut the deficit to just four points with almost four and a half minutes left in the fourth. However, the Warriors kept on going and finally sealed the deal after a made shot from David Lee and a Curry three-pointer.
Golden State exploited every aspect of their opponent. They outrebounded the Heat 40-31. They knocked down almost every open three-pointer they attempted. As a matter of fact, Miami’s defensive system focused more on protecting the paint thus allowing more three-point attempts, which against most teams are considered as lower-percentage shots than the ones from close to the rim. However, this rule just can’t be applied when any team is facing the Golden State Warriors. If Curry or Thompson found just a little open space, they will kill you from outside.
Curry knocked down eight shots from long range. It’s notable that LeBron James made 10 shots from the field. The King led Miami in scoring with 26 points. He also grabbed five boards and dished as many assists. However, he also committed eight turnovers.
Dwyane Wade added 22 points to go along with five assists while Chris Bosh finished with 19 points, but scored just two points in the second half. The bench was a non-factor for Miami in this game. Ray Allen took just four shots and found the target on only one of them. Norris Cole and Michael Beasley finished with five and seven points respectively, but their performance was mediocre.
Next game for the Heat (24-8) comes on Saturday on the road against the Orlando Magic. The Warriors (21-13) visit Atlanta on Friday to take on the Hawks.