Bad headline? Maybe, but it describes what the Warriors are now. A good team. In a game where they shot 37.6% as a team, made only 2 three pointers, and shot under 60% from the line, they still improved to 4-1 while beating a team that hadn't played the night before.
Stephen Curry returned from his ankle injury but was still only 80-85% in my estimation. He played great in the 4th quarter though, scoring 11 of his 20 points and making free throws down the stretch to put the game away. Monta Ellis, well, he's a star now. Stars switch over to the other team's best player and hold them to just 6 assists and force them into 8 turnovers. Deron Williams still scored 23 points, but Monta matched that output and Deron didn't have the kind of impact he normally does, which of course affected his teammates. All of this allowed Stephen Curry to guard Raja Bell, give Keith Smart credit for this defensive game plan.
Monta also had a big hand in putting the game away on the offensive end, hitting a big jumper with under a minute to go and tying a career-high in steals with 7. While we're here, this is where the Warriors showed continued growth and development as a team. On the possession where Monta hit that jumper to put them up by 5 with 54 seconds to go, it was the typical stand at the top of the circle-make something happen play-that you see from every team in the league that thinks one guy can win it. It worked on this occasion which was great, but on the next possession we saw something different.
Monta stood in the same place but then dished it off to Curry, who drove left and gave it to Dorell Wright in the corner who (didn't shoot well tonight but did things like this) drove baseline and found Andris Biedrins for a contested layup. The layup attempt failed but David Lee was there to tip it in because Utah had to react to all five of the Warriors moving on the court. It wasn't drawn up to work this way but that was the personification of what we have seen from this team during this 4-1 start. Teamwork, ball movement and rebounding.
Speaking of Lee and Biedrins, they combined for 35 rebounds with 14 of them being offensive. One of the many reasons the Warriors were able to grind out a win against a team that has dominated them for the better parts of this decade and the last.
Now the Warriors will go on the road for the first time this year with reason to believe that they can and will beat most of the teams on their schedule.
I'm shocked at what I have seen from the Warriors thus far, but at the same time we shouldn't be. This is the kind of basketball they have always been capable of playing and now finally are. Because they're good.