Culture of Hoops

Golden State Warriors Dominate Opening Week, Head to Houston

Image courtesy of   nikk_la/Flickr.

Image courtesy of nikk_la/Flickr.

The Golden State Warriors have started their season 4-0 for the first time since the 1994-95 campaign. Coming off of a 121-104 thrashing of their rival Los Angeles Clippers, Steve Kerr and company have to be feeling mighty fine about their hot start. Kerr has rolled the dice with his lineup changes and it has paid off masterfully. He is already pulling the right strings, the same strings that Mark Jackson would never dare to pull himself.

Klay Thompson has been a busy man. After batting trade rumors all summer while excelling in the FIBA World Cup, he was quick to sign a four-year, $70 million maximum extension that will keep him around in the Bay Area for quite some time. It’s safe to say that he is happy about that extension. In Thompson’s first game after signing his deal, he dropped a career-high 41 points on an extremely efficient 14-18 shooting in a dominant beat down of the Los Angeles Lakers. Thompson is second in the league in scoring at 27 points per game, behind, you know who, Kobe Bryant. But compare Thompson’s .537% from the floor to Kobe’s .402%. Now that’s efficiency.

As for Thompson’s fellow Splash Brother, Steph Curry, he hasn’t had too bad of a start either. While it seems to be much quieter than Thompson’s, Curry is still averaging 26 points, seven assists and 6.5 rebounds per game. The duo has evolved into what some say is the best backcourt in the league. The scary thing is how young they are and how much room they still have to grow. Look out, league.

But is there room for third Splash Brother, or is it Splash Triplet? Draymond Green sure seems to think so. The third-year forward has had his first opportunity to start this season in wake of David Lee‘s hamstring injury. Green has shined so far, scoring 24 points, including four trey bombs, to go along with eight rebounds and five assists in a huge win over the Clippers last week. He thrives against Lob City and has made a point to let them know not only on the stat sheet, but with his spirited antics as well. Green is averaging 12.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists this season, but it’s his defense and intensity that has stood out. Compared to David Lee’s defense, (if that’s what you want to call it) Green has helped lead the charge in a now top-five ranked Warriors’ defense.

With both the offense and defense rolling, the Warriors will head into Houston on Saturday night to take on the also undefeated Rockets. James Harden has been playing out of his mind so far, averaging 26 points, 7.2 assists and 6.7 rebounds. He has a PER of 29.35 and has lead his team to a quick 6-0 start. Houston is looking to become the first team in NBA history to start the season with seven straight wins by 10 points or more. But this will be a tough test for both teams in what is sure to be a great Saturday night of basketball.

The key matchup to keep an eye on is between the two seven footers Andrew Bogut and Dwight Howard. They have both gotten chippy with each other in year’s past. Howard has averaged 19.7 points and 11.5 rebounds this season and is coming off of a dominant 32 point, 16 rebound night over the shorthanded Spurs. Bogut is averaging 6.8 points, 10.3 boards and two blocks per game and is the all important anchor of the Golden State defense. If he can limit Howard and keep James Harden out of the paint and off of the foul line, then the Warriors should win this game. The Warriors need to force Harden, as well as the rest of the Rockets, to beat them with jump shots.

David Lee is out with a hamstring injury for Golden State. Patrick Beverley (hamstring) and Terrence Jones (leg) are both questionable for Houston.

Tip-off is at 5 P.M. Pacific Time.

Follow Rich Peters @Tricky_Roma.

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