On Tuesday evening the Warriors battled with the Mavericks, as both teams lit it up from the field. The Warriors were just over 57 percent, while Dallas shot 49 percent. For a while it seemed Dirk Nowitzki could not miss a shot, as the Dallas forward launched shots from every spot on the court, scoring 33 points and grabbing 11 boards. Monte Ellis looked motivated to play his old team, adding 27 points of his own, keeping the Mavericks in the game the entire way.
The Warriors showed heart on Tuesday, out scoring Dallas inside the paint without big men David Lee and Andrew Bogut, while still implementing a run and gun style, matching The Mavericks uptempo pace the entire game. While the two big men were out, the Warriors relied heavily on their bench, Jordan Crawford and Draymond Green played crucial roles, Crawford offensively with 19 points and Draymond adding 9 points, 11 rebounds. Klay Thompson led the team in scoring with 27, and Stephen Curry withstood constant double teams to knock down big time shots in the second half, including the game winner in overtime.
With all the action going on in the game itself, how relieving was it to see Andre Igoudala healthy, whole, and strong again? Igoudala was fluid, contributing all over the court. Iggy was 7 of 9 from the floor for 16 points, he grabbed 7 boards, and dished out 7 assists. Having a healthy Igoudala allows the Warriors to open up the offense a little bit more. With Steph off the ball and Iggy able to run the point the Warriors were able to find holes in the Mavericks zone defense, this leading to the increase in points in the paint. Igoudala’s ability to play 41 minutes of healthy basketball will increase the Warriors chances of creating points from the floor. With Curry freed up, moving around, taking doubles off of every screen actually benefited the Warriors, even without Lee and Bogut.
I’m not saying the Warriors are better without their premier big men, not at all, but they are a lot better with a healthy Igoudala because of the versatility the swing man forward provides. Igoudala’s contributions will only improve the Warriors chances of winning down the stretch, even when Lee and Bogut eventually return. The depth and versatility of this Warriors team is key to maintaining their winning ways, especially with teams such as Memphis, Dallas, and Phoenix breathing down their necks for that sixth seed. The Warriors are in for another big test on Wednesday, as the road trip keeps them in Texas to face the Spurs, the hottest team in the NBA. The Dubs definitely need that depth and versatility now more than ever.