Culture of Hoops

Golden State Warriors Continue to Win With Depth, Unity

Image courtesy of Nikk LA  Photography/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Nikk LA Photography/Flickr.

The winning streak is back up to eight as the Warriors head into Oklahoma City to take on a frantically desperate for wins Thunder team. Friday night’s meeting comes at a busy time for the Warriors, who will have a quick turnaround and be in Houston to take on the scorching hot Rockets on Saturday.

But the Warriors depth will allow them to survive a schedule that sees, as head coach Steve Kerr put it, “5 games in 6.5 days.” Kerr also announced, in true Gregg Popovich fashion, that both Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala will be sitting out on Friday night for plain and simple rest. A very good thing for the long term, but it will sure make things more difficult against a Superstar heavy Thunder squad in the short term.

I asked Warriors shooting guard Justin Holiday what they can do to slow down Kevin Durant again on Friday as they did in their last meeting, and as a team, do you want to try to take away Durant’s game or Westbrook’s? Holiday said, “Our goal is to slow both of them down. Those two are All-Stars, so they will score. And at the end of the day, all you can do is contest their shots and force them to shoot tough ones. We will do the best we can to make it hard for them and take them out of their comfort zone.”

It will be interesting to see how the Warriors defend and rebound without two of their best defenders. That’s where the depth is going to come into play. Steve Kerr has the ability to throw an entirely fresh second unit on the court and still have a legitimate five on both ends of the floor. Not many teams can go 10, 11, and 12 deep with such an unselfish level of play.

“We mesh well because we have a team of guys that don’t have big egos. Everyone is working toward one goal and that is playing as a team and to ultimately win the game,” Holiday told me.

He couldn’t have said it any better. One common goal: winning. They don’t have what the great Pat Riley referred to in his book Showtime as “the disease for more.” They check their egos at the door. Iguodala recently stated, “We’ve had guys in here before, this year and last year, who got out of pocket but it was put in check real quick. And when you’re winning – and playing the right way while winning – you’ve got to put it in check.”

The Warriors collectively understand the magnitude of their franchise best 31-5 start. They want the number one seed, they want to continue to be the best team in the league, and most importantly, they want to bring a championship to the Bay Area.

Follow Rich Peters @Tricky_Roma.

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