BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Despite fielding an injury depleted lineup that would cause most lesser teams to throw in the towel before the opening tip, the Warriors depth made the difference in the second half Thursday night during a 112-97 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
With starters Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia out due to injuries, and Nick Young recovering from a concussion, Golden State was out of synch at the start of a game that was tied at the break.
Riding the hot shooting of Kevin Durant, who led all scorers with 36 points and 11 rebounds, the Warriors ended up shooting 60% from the field in route to their eighth straight win.
Klay Thompson added 25, including a perfect 5-5 from three point range. Omri Casspi also continued to shine, putting up a season-high 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Another bright spot for the Warriors was undoubtedly the continued maturation of Jordan Bell. A 22-year-old rookie out of Oregon in just his fourth NBA start in place of Pachulia at center, Bell was solid, putting up eight points to go along with a career best eight assists and six rebounds.
Following the game, Golden State coach Steve Kerr sang the praises of his two remaining healthy All-Stars. ” KD is one of the most talented scorers to ever play the game. He can make stuff out of nothing. There were times where it didn’t look like we had anything going and he just rose up and knocked down threes or put it on the floor and scored. He’s basically unguardable. He’s averaging 34 a game without Steph. As soon as Steph comes back, Kevin’s usage rate will go down and his points per game will go down and he won’t mind. He has this amazing combination of skill and confidence and sort of humility and deference to his teammates. A powerful, powerful force.””
As for Thompson, who scored 14 in the final quarter, Kerr stated “Klay is probably the quietest of our All-Stars. He’s just here for us every single night guarding the toughest guy, knocking down shots and making plays. It’s like Groundhog Day. Same thing every day from Klay. We can count on him every single night.”
Dirk Nowitzki led the way for the Mavs with 18 points and 9 rebounds, while former Warrior Harrison Barnes chipped in 16 points and 7 boards.
The Warriors now get a much needed three day rest before returning to action Monday night in Los Angeles against the Lakers, their only remaining road game of the month prior to finishing out the year with seven consecutive home games at Oracle.