Warriors beat short-handed Heat 104-89 for 8th straight win
Jan. 15, 2015
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has nothing but "good problems" right now.
It's the beginning of the dog days of the NBA season, he said, those few weeks before the All-Star break when the newness of the schedule has worn off and players begin to physically and emotionally tire. And despite more lapses than he'd like, Kerr's team just keeps on winning — and usually by a lot.
The NBA-leading Warriors continued their latest roll Wednesday night, overwhelming the undermanned Miami Heat 104-89 for their eighth straight victory. Golden State (31-5) has won by an average of 19.8 points during its current streak.
"I think it hits every team, regardless of your record," Kerr said. "If anything, it should be easier for us. This has been so much fun. Everybody's playing and we are winning. It's been a fantastic season to this point so that should help carry us for a bit."
With a strained left hamstring sidelining Heat star Dwyane Wade, the Warriors mowed down Miami the way they have most opponents recently.
Stephen Curry made seven 3-pointers and finished with 32 points, and Klay Thompson scored 19 to help the Warriors build a 19-point lead in the second quarter. They responded every time Miami moved close, winning their 15th consecutive home game, tying the longest streak since the franchise moved West before the 1962-63 season.
"I think our team has done a good job of keeping our energy up and keeping our spirits up," said forward David Lee, who had eight points, six rebounds and five assists off the bench. "And I think it all goes back to having that depth and having that cohesiveness as a team that helps us at these times."
Chris Bosh had 26 points and seven rebounds but couldn't carry the Heat alone. Luol Deng added 19 points, and Hassan Whiteside had 10 points and 12 rebounds in his first start for Miami.
Wade left with the hamstring injury in the first half of the Heat's win at the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. The team said he is "day to day."
Miami's victories at the Lakers and Clippers in a three-day span marked the first time since Nov. 23 the Heat had won two straight — a stunning span of 24 games for the four-time defending Eastern Conference champions, who are still adjusting to life without LeBron James.
A night later in Northern California, the Warriors wore down the depleted Heat (17-22) behind a familiar formula: smothering defense, pushing the pace in transition and finishing on the other end — often from long range.
Curry and Thompson got Golden State off to a strong start behind their potent 3-point shooting, and the second unit helped stretch the lead to 19 points in the second quarter. The Warriors led 55-38 at the half.
Miami moved within single digits in the third and fourth quarters, but in routine fashion, the Warriors quickly pulled away each time behind a big burst.
Curry shot 11 for 19 from the floor, including 7 of 10 from beyond the arc. Reserves Andre Iguodala and Leandro Barbosa each scored nine points for Golden State.
"In the first half, we didn't bring enough of a competitive disposition," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We competed better in the second half, but it was still not good enough basketball. They make it tough on you."
The Warriors, who have won 17 of 18 games at home this season, celebrated their 100th consecutive sellout at Oracle Arena with videos thanking fans during stoppages.
Tyler Johnson, a native of nearby Mountain View native who attended the Warriors' basketball camp growing up, made two free throws late for his first career NBA points.
Heat: Whiteside and rookie guard Shabazz Napier started for the first time in their careers. Napier finished with 10 points and six assists. ... Miami is 2-2 on its five-game trip.
Warriors: Golden State is 13-0 against Eastern Conference teams this season. ... Backup center Festus Ezeli sat out for the eighth straight game with a sprained left ankle.
Heat: At Sacramento on Friday night.
Warriors: At Oklahoma City on Friday night.