Warriors schedule Week 6: Durant, Curry prepare for Harden-led Rockets

Even when things are going badly for the Golden State Warriors , they're still going pretty well. After Friday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers, coach Steve Kerr said they were "awful" and fans should get their money back ... and the Warriors won 109-85. Do-it-all forward Draymond Green hurt his ankle in that game, and the All-Star had to miss their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves the next night. Kerr started the inexperienced Kevon Looney against Karl-Anthony Towns , and Wolves guard Zach LaVine went off for 31 points ... and the Warriors won 115-102.

Golden State's 30-assist streak ended at 10 games, but its winning streak stands at 11 and counting. The Warriors now have the NBA's best record to go with their ridiculous offensive rating of 115.4 points per 100 possessions, and their defensive rating is now up to No. 8 in the league. If you correctly predicted that Kevin Durant would fit in quickly, congratulations.


Record: 15-2

Scoring leader: Kevin Durant (27.2)

Assists leader: Draymond Green (6.9)

Rebounding leader: Draymond Green (9.0)

Last week: Defeated Pacers, Lakers (twice) and Timberwolves (4-0)


Monday, 10:30 p.m. ET: Atlanta Hawks

Where: Oracle Arena in Oakland, California

TV: NBA League Pass

Streaming: NBA League Pass

Thursday, 10:30 p.m. ET: Houston Rockets

Where: Oracle Arena in Oakland, California


Streaming: Watch TNT

Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET: Phoenix Suns

Where: Oracle Arena in Oakland, California

TV: NBA League Pass

Streaming: NBA League Pass


Durant's unprecedented efficiency: Even though the Warriors are the most thoroughly covered team in the league, it somehow seems like this isn't being discussed enough. No one in NBA history has averaged 25 or more points with a true shooting percentage of 67 percent or higher -- Durant is averaging 27.2 points with a 68.4 percent true shooting percentage.

Amusingly, the previous gold standard here was set by Stephen Curry , who averaged 30.1 points with a 66.9 percent true shooting percentage last season. Those numbers have dropped to 26.7 and 66.7 percent this year.

With Durant's talent and basketball IQ, it's not terribly surprising that he has adjusted well to his new basketball environment. The remarkable part is that he's been the most consistent Warrior, and, along with all the scoring, he's doing whatever else his team needs. On Friday, he had nine assists to go with his 29 points. On Saturday, he had six blocks to go with his 28 points. It's still early and there are more than a handful of MVP candidates, but he is making a convincing case for himself.

Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry high fiving
The most efficient tandem imaginable, pretty much. USATSI

Transition defense: According to Synergy Sports, Golden State has been the league's third-best team when it comes to halfcourt defense. In transition, however, it ranks 18th in points allowed per possession. This is extremely similar to last season, where they ranked third in halfcourt defense and 19th in transition.

Until last season's playoffs, the conventional wisdom was that it was silly to try to run with Warriors. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers , however, proved that pushing the ball was an essential part of any game plan against them. Defensively, Golden State is too versatile and smart in the halfcourt, and its style means that it will always be somewhat vulnerable in transition. When you take a ton of quick shots, it's difficult to get everybody back on defense.

The Warriors know all this, and they should see this week as a test. The Hawks rank seventh in pace, the Suns rank second and, while the Rockets surprisingly rank 14th under pace-and-space deity Mike D'Antoni, they're as dangerous as anybody when James Harden has the ball in his hands in the open court.

The supporting cast: Looney's start against Towns was surprising, but he acquitted himself well in his 18 minutes, earning praise from Kerr for his defense and his feel for the game. In that same win over Minnesota, JaVale McGee had eight points, five rebounds and a block in 11 minutes, shooting 4-for-5 and going 1-for-2 when trying to reject Andrew Wiggins at the rim -- people will remember Wiggins throwing one down over McGee, but that was a couple of minutes after McGee denied him.

Kerr likes to give everybody a chance to play, and this season it serves a larger purpose than just making everybody feel involved -- with the departure of several key role players in the offseason, some of these new guys are going to have to play real minutes in the playoffs.

I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the big Patrick McCaw breakout game.


Harden vs. Klay Thompson . Harden is easily the best player the Warriors will face this week, and, while they're extremely familiar with him, this is a bit of a new challenge. Under D'Antoni, Harden is averaging a league-leading 12.4 assists to go with his 28.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, playing the Steve Nash role in an offense that revolves around his playmaking ability.

Thompson, one of the best one-on-one wing defenders around, has plenty of experience with trying to stay in front of Harden's herky-jerky dribble moves. These Rockets space the floor better than ever, though, and he'll need lots of help from Golden State's big men to try to contain pick-and-rolls.

CBS Sports Writer

James Herbert is somewhat fond of basketball, feature writing and understatements. A former season-ticket holder for the expansion Toronto Raptors, Herbert does not think the NBA was better back in the... Full Bio

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