The Golden State Warriors (39-24) returned to the packed Oracle Arena on Friday night and gave the fans a 111-97 victory over the reeling Atlanta Hawks (26-34).
The Warriors were able to get key contributions from the frontcourt on Friday night. David Lee paced the offensive attack with 18 points on 9-12 shooting from the floor. Jermaine O’Neal dropped in 17 points off the bench, and Andrew Bogut was an intimidating presence in the middle with ten points and nine rebounds.
The game was high paced right from the opening tip off. Both teams were quick out on the floor, and the teams were fairly even after the first quarter.
The second quarter is when the tide changed in favor of the Warriors. Golden State was able to make a big 12-1 run in the end of the half and take a 14-point lead into halftime.
The Hawks came out of the break with a defensive purpose and created several Warriors turnovers. Atlanta cut the deficit to only four, but a Draymond Green step-back three cut the rally and gave the Warriors a needed lift.
Golden State continued their strong defensive play into the fourth quarter by holding the Hawks scoreless for nearly seven minutes and growing their lead to over 20 points. Coach Mark Jackson was able to rest the starters for a large portion of the quarter, and the reserves finished off Atlanta for the victory.
After the game, O’Neal commented that, “It was another team victory, and it’s so much better to be playing well now then just early in the season.”
There was a slight downside to the Warriors victory on Friday, however, as shooting guard Klay Thompson exited the game midway through the first quarter with a strained lower back. The injury occurred when Thompson drove to the hoop and was slammed hard to the floor on the play by the Hawks defense. After the game, Jackson said that Klay was ok, but was kept out for the rest of the game as a precautionary reason.
Atlanta’s All Star Paul Milsap led the team with 16 points and seven rebounds, but regardless of his play, the team has lost 13 of their last 14 games.
The Warriors are 8-2 since the All-Star break and continue their homestand on Sunday night against the upstart Phoenix Suns at 6pm.
Notes: This was the 67th straight sell-out crowd at Oracle Arena…. Reserve forward O’Neal has scored double figures in five of his last seven games…. The Warriors are now a season high 15 games over .500…. Golden State is 14-4 when Andre Iguodala scores more than ten.