After only amassing 20 assists total in their game against the Sacramento Kings at ARCO Arena last Sunday night, the Golden State Warriors tallied 10 in the first quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Their first-half ball movement proved exemplary and carried into the second half in what amounted to an NBA season high 146 points (regulation time), but most importantly a much needed win. The Warriors accumulated 36 assists on only 12 turnovers, in which, out of the 10 players available to play on the Warriors injury-depleted bench, nine contributed to the assist column.
Prior to the game, the Warriors offense suffered from a lack of cohesion and direction, often opting for one-on-one situations that led to low-percentage outside shots and resulted in back-to-back drubbings to some of the Western Conference’s bottom feeders.
However, Monday night against Minnesota, they got back to their run-and-gun style of offense, featuring quick passes on the break, getting 47 points off turnovers and 42 on fast breaks. Passing builds confidence because buckets are made on the end of them and it seemed like the Warriors could not get enough of it against the Wolves.
Even Steven Jackson decided to share a bit of his possessions, which was a great sign of game awareness and understanding, which was something little seen from the enigmatic forward since the “We Believe” playoff team from 2007. Playing like a man possessed, Jackson passed the ball as well as any 6’8 swingman in the league that night, passing for seven assists and one field-goal on only five shots taken in the first half. He finished with a career high 15 assists, eclipsing his previous personal mark of 12 and even threw in some defense with four steals.
It’s a well known fact that players like Corey Maggette and Stephen Jackson are players who need a lot of touches and absolutely must play well to give their team’s a chance to win. But when they can utilize their touches by driving to the basket and dishing to open teammates as the opposing defenses collapse-in instead of settling for a fast break three-pointer or a fade-away 22-footer with 20 seconds still left on the shot-clock; the Warriors chances of winning rise exponentially.
Now I am obliged to give credit where credit is do and contrary to my previous article about Jackson’s effect on the chemistry of the team, I want to praise him for the unselfishness he displayed in the Timberwolves game. If he can play like that every night he may not have to leave us for a contender because we would have a chance to compete with our own scoring ability. And although their relationship might end soon based on the recent comments by his manager to ESPN regarding an eventual move for his client, with form like this, they can both end it amicably.