Sometimes all a team needs to break an 11-game road losing streak is playing the 18-win Houston Rockets. For the Warriors, that was exactly the case in a 121-108 win Monday night at Toyota Center.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak, and gave the Warriors their first road win since Jan. 30. All the defending champions needed was nearly two months and a team praying for the top pick in the NBA draft to figure it out.
Was it easy? Not all. Nothing is for these Warriors on the road.
They turned the ball over 20 times, accounting for 25 points by the Rockets. Again, nothing easy for these Warriors.
But they have Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The two combined for 59 points and 10 3-pointers. Curry dropped 30 points, going 10 of 23 from the field with five 3-pointers, and Thompson scored 29 on 11-of-21 shooting with five threes as well.
Here are three takeaways from the Warriors (37-36) ending their road losing streak.
In the first three games of this three-game road trip, the Warriors trailed by five, eight and then 10 points after the first quarter. They lost all three. Monday night in Houston finally was a different story.
The Warriors led by five points, 26-21, going into the second quarter. That snapped a streak spanning over six weeks the Warriors wish wasn’t true. For the first time since Feb. 2, Golden State was ahead on the road following the first 12 minutes.
When the Warriors accomplished the feat at the start of February, they went on to lose to the Denver Nuggets. Badly needing a win against the lowly Rockets, Golden State held on this time. And they did it with Curry going scoreless in the opening period.
Kevon Looney and Thompson led the way with six points apiece in the opening frame. What stood out most was the way the Warriors were scoring. It wasn’t from deep. Going 2 of 9 on 3-pointers, the Warriors scored 18 points in the paint in the first and had 11 fastbreak points.
Now, if only the Warriors made it that easy on themselves for all four quarters.
A big zero next to Curry’s scoring totals didn’t last long. He missed all three of his shots, including two 3-pointers, in the first quarter.
Then came the second quarter. The Warriors’ turnover frenzy was on, and they missed their first five shots from beyond the arc. Curry ended the streak with a trey at the 8:53 mark.
He scored 15 points by himself in the second quarter on 5-of-9 shooting and 3 of 5 from deep. It looked the Splash Brother was in for a big final three quarters. Until he had all of Dub Nation holding its breath.
A little over halfway through the third quarter, a freak play had Curry limping and Jordan Poole down on the ground. As he came down from a layup attempt under the basket, Poole’s head and Curry’s left ankle collided. Curry shortly thereafter went to the bench where he pointed to the outside of his left knee, put a heating pad on it and went to the bike to loosen up.
Breathe. Though he sat the rest of the quarter, Curry opened the fourth quarter on the court. He was on a mission battling through pain, and scored 11 points in the fourth.
Simply said, Steph wasn’t going to let the Warriors lose this one.
Neither was Jonathan Kuminga. At 20 years old, the athletic marveled again displayed his sky-high potential combined with what he gives the Warriors in the present.
Kuminga played 26 minutes and led all bench scorers with 17 points. His scoring came from an efficient 7 of 9 from the field, too.
For good measure, he also added four assists, three rebounds and one block. It’s no surprise by now, however, Kuminga’s otherworldly athleticism never gets old.
Over the last three games, Kuminga has averaged 17 points on 54.1 percent (20 of 37) from the field. As long as Andrew Wiggins remains away from the team, these kind of nights from Kuminga is the cherry on top for the Warriors.
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