(Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Was that game played in 2004, or did the Warriors and Heat only play three quarters Monday night at Oracle Arena?

I ask because a 97-80 scoreline looks a bit off, no?

Sure enough, that was the final score of Monday night’s contest — a four-round slugfest in which the Warriors, despite a poor shooting night, were able to win with ease.

The Warriors are the alpha dogs in NBA, so there are going to be a lot of regular season games this year with little to no meaning — how much can we glean from a Sunday meeting with the Detroit Pistons, after all?

But Monday’s game provided plenty to analyze — amid a season that’s likely to have 40 or 50 games where the scoreline is something to the effect of “129-111 Warriors”, Monday’s game was different.

Different is good. We can learn something from different.

Here are the five big takeaways I had from the Warriors’ different kind of win Monday night:

1. This Warriors’ team can beat you with your own game
(Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

The Heat made a concerted effort to play a slow, grind-it-out game Monday. That made sense: they were on the second leg of a back-to-back and, frankly, its the only style of play they have.

The Warriors, more often than not, dictate the pace of games — in part because most teams are foolish enough to think they can run with Golden State. But they did not dictate the pace of Monday’s game.

For that, the Heat deserve credit. In many ways, the tactic of turning Monday’s game into a slog (it doesn’t matter if it was by necessity or choice) was clever — the Warriors feast in transition and can become stagnant in the half court, so if the Warriors’ defense isn’t clicking, opponents that want to play slow stand a chance of beating Golden State.

For the first 20 minutes of Monday’s game, the Heat’s tactic was working — the Warriors were having a poor offensive game, and the Heat were knocking down a bunch of mid-range jumpers just before the shot clock expired. The slow pace proved to be an equalizer: the teams were tied at 34-34 with 3:57 remaining in the second quarter.

Then Steve Kerr went to the “Hamptons Five”, with Draymond Green at center, and the Warriors went on a 16-3 run to end the half, taking a lead they never entertained giving up.

While …read more

Source:: East Bay – Sports

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Kurtenbach: 5 big takeaways from the Warriors’ win over the Heat

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