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Warriors Observations: Andrew Wiggins' Eruption Propels Win Over Rockets

What we learned as Wiggs propels Warriors to win over Rockets originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO — Two nights, two games, two home wins. That’s the story of the Warriors after their 120-101 victory against the Houston Rockets on Saturday night at Chase Center. 

Once again, though, they didn’t make it easy on themselves. 

The Warriors played a near perfect first quarter, leading 39-23 after the first 12 minutes. In that first quarter, they didn’t turn the ball over once and were whistled for only two fouls. They then turned the ball over six times and committed eight fouls in the second quarter. The trend didn’t exactly stop there.

Golden State gifted Houston 14 turnovers, were called for 24 fouls and the Rockets took 20 free throws — twice as many as the Warriors’ 10.

Luckily for the Warriors, they were splashing 3-pointers left and right and multiple players chipped in scoring the ball. Andrew Wiggins led the way with 36 points, followed by another 30-point performance from Steph Curry and 21 from Jordan Poole.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ win over the Rockets, improving their record to 13-11 on the season.

Too Easy

Wiggins is quiet, to himself and lets his game do all the talking. Blink and he’s lighting up the box score. The latest case came in Saturday night’s win.

Wiggins wasn’t the one making huge highlight-reel plays for the Warriors. His performance certainly was needed. It was one of his best in a Warriors jersey, and in his career.

Here’s how his night wrapped up: 34 minutes, 36 points, 14-for-19 from the field and 8-for-10 from 3-point range. That’s a dominant, efficient game by the definition.

His 34 points were a season high, as were his 3-pointers and his plus-34 in plus/minus. Wiggins continued his All-Star play and showed up whenever the Warriors needed him to. The game is coming easy to Wiggins the longer he’s in a Warriors jersey, and his contract looks more like a steal with each game he suits up in.

3-Point Party

At times Friday night against the Chicago Bulls, especially in the fourth quarter, the Warriors became stagnant and started hoisting 3-pointers with plenty of time left instead of moving the ball. One night later, the Warriors proved for the umpteenth time why they can defy the game and let it fly so frequently.

The Warriors in the first quarter made seven 3-pointers. They pushed that number to 12 by halftime, 19 through three quarters and 25 overall.

Both Wiggins and Curry made eight, followed by five from Poole, three from Moses Moody and one from Draymond Green.

Some threes were more significant than others, too. 

Wiggins’ fourth of the night gave him 900 for his career. His eight 3-pointers tied his career high. Then there’s Green.

The first trey of the night belonged to Draymond, who continued his strong campaign from beyond the arc. That 3-pointer gave him more for his career than, wait for it … Michael Jordan. 

Draymond Green (582) has passed Michael Jordan (581) on the all-time 3-point list

— Dalton Johnson (@DaltonJ_Johnson) December 4, 2022

These two teams had opposite days on the court when it comes to 3-pointers. The Warriors went 25-for-52 overall, good for a 48.1 percent mark. The Rockets made only three of their 28 attempts, which equates to 10.1 percent. 

That’s a 66-point difference in 3-pointers. Yikes.

Welcome Back

The early portion of the Warriors’ season has been full of twists, turns and surprises. Among them is watching Moody being exiled to the bench. As Steve Kerr has experimented with multiple rotations and five-man rotations, Moody has been the odd man out. 

With Klay Thompson sitting the second night of a back-to-back, Moody finally had his time to prove himself again. The 20-year-old guard/wing entered the first quarter at the 3:37 mark and played the rest of the period. In the first quarter alone, Moody played more minutes than he has totaled in the Warriors’ previous four games combined. He quickly made an impact, too. 

Moody’s first shot attempt of the night splashed for a 3-pointer. Then in the final seconds of the first quarter, he found JaMychal Green for an easy dunk of a perfect slip screen. 

While the Warriors sputtered to open the fourth quarter, Moody’s second 3-pointer of the night was a big one. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. 

Moody wound up playing 17 minutes off the bench, leading the bench with 11 points while going 4-for-5 from the field and making all three of his 3-pointers. There is no guarantee what’s next for the former first-round pick, but this one had to feel good.

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