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sport / / BANG: Warriors handle depleted Heat to regain footing

o BANG: Warriors handle depleted Heat to regain footingAllen

BANG: Warriors handle depleted Heat to regain footing


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From: (Allen)
Subject: BANG: Warriors handle depleted Heat to regain footing
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2024 16:16:14 -0700
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 by: Allen - Wed, 27 Mar 2024 23:16 UTC

Warriors handle depleted Heat to regain footing
Klay Thompson led all scorers with 28 points
>Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) looks for an opening
past Miami Heat forward Nikola Jovic (5) during the first half of an NBA
basketball game, Tuesday, March 26, 2024, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Danny Emerman is a Bay Area News Group sports reporter
By DANNY EMERMAN | | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: March 26, 2024 at 6:54 p.m. | UPDATED: March 26, 2024 at 7:38

MIAMI — Draymond Green said it best after the Warriors’ Sunday night
loss in Minnesota. Losing too many games against teams you should beat
isn’t going to get you very far in the NBA.

The Warriors have lost too many games against undermanned teams. Against
teams they built up big leads against, but failed to bury. Against
opponents without the star power or championship pedigree they have.

“If you lose the ones you’re supposed to win, you’re in for a long
year,” Green said.

Golden State faced another one of those short-staffed teams in the
Kaseya Center, as the hosting Heat were missing five rotation players.

This time, the Warriors (37-34) took care of business. Klay Thompson,
re-inserted into the starting lineup for Brandin Podziemski, hit six 3s
and scored a game-high 28 as Golden State held off Miami, then ran away
with a 113-92 victory.

The Warriors held the Heat to 37 second-half points, a product of upped
intensity and Miami’s lack of scoring options.

“Much better level of competitiveness in the second half,” Warriors
coach Steve Kerr said postgame. “I though they out-competed us in the
first half. They were making it difficult for us to get the ball past
half court. They were playing really, really hard, and we didn’t match
that. In the second half, I think we flipped that around.”

Golden State lost three of four games entering Tuesday and claimed only
a half-game lead on the surging Rockets, so the win provides at least a
gasp of breathing room in the standings.

Stealing games while short-handed has been the Heat’s modus operandi.
They’ve been doing it for years. Their culture, which has been proven
true through several deep, unexpected playoff runs recently, demands the
sort of next-man-up mentality every coach tries to instill. Their paints
in the Kaseya Center reads, in all caps, “Hardest Working. Best
conditioned. Most professional. Unselfish. Toughest. Meanest. Nastiest
team in the NBA.”

And it’s not even entirely Fugazi marketing.

Earlier this year, the Heat beat Golden State without star Jimmy Butler.
This time, they were without Butler, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Josh
Richardson and Kevin Love.

“We’re not falling for that trick,” Kerr said when asked pregame about
Miami’s short-handed roster. “We’ve fallen for that trick too many times
in the past…Don’t let your guard down.”

The Warriors charged out on a 13-5 run and hit eight of their first 11
shots, but the Heat battled back. Like they tend to do.

Chris Paul committed consecutive turnovers, then didn’t push the ball up
the court quickly enough and got an eight-second violation. With Curry
on the bench and Trayce Jackson-Davis (sore right knee) unavailable,
their offensive options dwindled. Miami won the first period by two.

Miami toggled through variations of zone defenses and full court
pressures, forcing Golden State to adjust on the fly.

It was nothing the experienced Warriors hadn’t seen before, and they had
counters. Still, they played even in the second quarter as Haywood
Highsmith wreaked havoc and Bam Adebayo provided consistent offense.
Thompson led all scorers at half with 15 in his return to the starting

Like they did to start the game, the Warriors opened the second half on
a sprint. Thompson canned another 3, Andrew Wiggins crossed into double
digits and Jonathan Kuminga threw down an alley-oop for a 15-6 run.

The Heat didn’t break, but their shooters went cold as Golden State
ramped up its defensive intensity. Kerr noted Andrew Wiggins’ work on
Terry Rozier in particular as a difference-maker.

The Warriors entered the fourth quarter with an 85-75 lead. With Steph
Curry at 24 minutes and the Warriors trying to conserve his load, they’d
have to hold on for long stretches without their superstar.

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The Warriors’ bench treaded water in the opening minutes and Kerr
brought Curry back in early, at the 8:37 mark. As soon as he checked in,
he got a bucket via goaltending on Adebayo, then he drilled a 3 over the
Heat center’s contest.

Then Curry found a wide-open Kevon Looney underneath for a dunk, busting
Miami’s zone and putting the Warriors up 14. The Heat, with a combined
74.6 points per game sidelined, didn’t have enough offense to bridge the
difference. Thompson scored back-to-back buckets to balloon Golden
State’s lead to 20.

The Warriors knew they couldn’t overlook the Heat, and they didn’t. Even
as they’ve spiraled to the edge of the playoff picture, the Warriors
still have a bit of their own culture to lean on, too. Their only chance
to make the type of run they still believe they can is to peak at the
right time, in the last three weeks of the year.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Kevon Looney said postgame. “Still feel
like we’ve got a chance to do something special, but we’ve got to go out
there and prove it. None of these games are going to be easy down the
stretch, we’ve got to go out there and dig deep.”

sport / / BANG: Warriors handle depleted Heat to regain footing


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