After eating dual losses by a combined 66 points in their first two games, the Golden State Warriors rebounded for back-to-back wins in Chicago and Detroit, featuring a Damion Lee game-winner and impressive play from rookie James Wiseman.
He’s not just Steph Curry’s brother-in-law anymore.
Fourth-year shooting guard Damion Lee made a name for himself last Sunday night when he hit a game-winning three point bucket with 01.7 seconds left in Chicago to beat the Bulls 129-128.
DAMION. LEE. pic.twitter.com/fAvRZkfCwu— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 28, 2020
It was a true testament to the Warriors’ ‘next man up’ mentality, especially after losing Marquese Chriss for the season in a practice scrimmage prior to the game. The Warriors said Chriss "suffered a right syndesmosis ankle injury with a fibular fracture" after coming down awkwardly going up for a lob, and will undergo surgery in the coming days.
Two-time MVP Stephen Curry started the season off shooting well below his standard, heaving it at just 34% from the field and 4-for-20 from 3pt land through the first two contests. Steph, however, seems to have found an old rhythm that had since been elusive this season, after knocking down 105 consecutive threes in practice last week, and shooting 56% from behind the arc in the 116-106 win against the Detroit Pistons last night.
“We’re learning and growing, but you gotta be honest with yourself around the first two games, it was terrible and disjointed,” Curry told reporters after the game against the Bulls. “Week to week we can add a little bit ... but I think we had a little bit more confidence and that’s gonna continue to grow.”
The team has begun to play defense with more urgency, showing what it takes to be competitive in what others might have assumed would be another off year.
Andrew Wiggins has been a huge piece. The 6’8” wing has been getting his work in from all over the court, on both the offensive and defensive end. Battling with Derrick Rose in Detroit, Wiggins kept the game close with some clutch buckets while Steph got his usual rest to start the fourth quarter, finishing with 27 for the night.
The true treasure for the Warriors this season, however, has been rookie-standout James Wiseman, who battled with Blake Griffin early in Detroit last night, sending him to the locker room before halftime after a strong collision. Wiseman was instrumental in keeping the momentum going in the third and fourth quarters with some exciting, high level scoring of his own.
JAMES. WISEMAN. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/GZ3kLsE8pc— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) December 30, 2020
“I also thought James had a really good stretch in the fourth where his size and presence in the paint,” head coach Steve Kerr said in his postgame interview in Detroit. “For the first time really in the four games, it looked like he sort of knew where his job was — to protect the rim, not foul, use his size and his athleticism. He made a couple of big plays where we got stops and scores at the other end.”
After two tough losses to start this campaign, the Golden State Warriors have found a way to be competitive and push towards their goal of being ready to turn heads in the playoffs this year. The team also hopes to have 2017 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green back in the lineup Friday night as the Warriors get set to tip-off a 7-game home stand against the Portland Trailblazers at 7:30 PM.
Top Image: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images