Given how the Warriors looked in their first two games to begin the season, Damion Lee’s game-winning heroics on Sunday night were sorely needed. It’s obviously still quite early in the 2020-21 campaign, but Golden State was desperately in need of a positive result.
In their 129-128 win over the Chicago Bulls, the Warriors didn’t look great. Heck, they rarely looked good. But they were good enough to get the win, and at this point, that’s all that matters.
“We needed that one,” Steph Curry told “Warriors Postgame Live” host Bonta Hill and analysts Chris Mullin and Dorell Wright immediately following the victory. “It has been an interesting start to the season, and, you know, in the NBA, you just gotta build any type of momentum to kind of get pointed in the right direction. We’ve got a lot of guys that are staying ready and committed to doing whatever it takes to keep getting better. It wasn’t pretty at all, but we showed some competitive fire down the stretch.”
“Just to get that first one, it’s huge,” Curry added. “We talked about it all preseason. To start this year, we’ve got a young group and a different group and it’s not going to look the same as years past. But to just get that monkey off your back, get a win, get some morale, have something to smile about, it means a lot.”
In their losses to the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks, the Warriors shot the ball terribly, and particularly so from 3-point range, making just 20 of their 78 attempts from beyond the arc. Golden State didn’t shoot the lights out against Chicago, but it was still a significantly better shooting performance, as the Warriors shot 40.4 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from long distance. Their 18 makes from 3-point land — on 47 attempts — nearly doubled their season total.
The majority of those made 3-pointers, however, came in the second half as the Warriors started to find their stroke. They struggled from the perimeter in the first half, but were not dissuaded from continuing to fire away.
“The way that we play, we’re still trying to hit the open guy, and we have a lot of encouragement from guys on the bench to just keep shooting,” Curry explained. “And, at the end of the day, you can hear the noise, you can look at the stat sheet, you can get that in your head that you’re not shooting well, but there’s other things that you have to do on the floor to help a team win. And then when shots fall, that’s when the floodgates open.
“Myself included. I’ve gotta shoot the ball better, more consistently. A night like tonight when nothing’s going early, and then you find it in the second half, especially the fourth quarter, it’s good to see that.”
The Warriors shot the ball better on Sunday, and there’s good reason to expect that trend to continue — especially for Curry. Golden State obviously has ample room for improvement, but the win over the Bulls marked a step in the right direction and was an important development for a team that is just getting started.