But it is the bench that has the Warriors sniffing a top-four seed in the West. Last season, things got so bad that Jackson actually started five rookies in one game. This season, he has been able to call upon forward Carl Landry (13.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and combo guard Jarrett Jack (9.9 ppg, 4.6 apg), two veterans who simply know how to play.
“A big difference this year was getting Draymond (Green), Carl and Jarrett,” Lee said. “That has given us some depth.”
About to embark on a long road trip, the Warriors lost at home to Orlando, wasting a chance to complete a 4-0 homestand and sounding the alarms of seasons past. With their newfound demeanor and approach, they shook it off and won the first three games of the trip, including a stop in Brooklyn that left Jackson very satisfied.
Golden State visits slumping Charlotte on Monday night. If the Warriors win that game – or any of its remaining stops in Orlando, Miami or Atlanta – they will have a winning road trip of at least seven games for the first time since 1970, when Nate Thurmond and Jerry Lucas were protecting the paint.
But Thompson and his teammates are too concerned with the present to worry about ancient history.
“We have one agenda – to win and make a deep run in the playoffs,” he said.
TRIVIA: Which team has the longest run of consecutive playoff appearances in NBA history? Answer below.
THE END OF CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT: In an effort to generate more positive coverage about himself, Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams has his own beat reporter who is fully credentialed by the team.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh, on the scrutiny the team faces as defending champions:
“It’s a little earlier than expected, but we knew there were going to be different challenges this year. Controversy, adversity, whatever ‘ersity’ you want to use.”
LINE OF THE WEEK: Joakim Noah, Chicago at Detroit, Dec. 7: 43 minutes, 12-19 FGs, 6-7 FTs, 10 offensive rebounds, 23 total rebounds, six assists, two steals, two blocks, two turnovers, 30 points in a 108-104 win. We did not ignore Zach Randolph’s 38-22 monster or Juice Mayo cracking open a 40. But Noah had career highs in both points and rebounds and became just the third player in team history to have a 30-20-5 game. None of those players is named Michael Jordan or Scottie Pippen.
LINE OF THE WEAK: Andre Iguodala, Denver at Atlanta, Dec. 5: 38 minutes, 2-10 FGs, 1-4 3-pointers, 0-1 FTs, four rebounds, four assists, one steal, seven turnovers, five points in a 108-104 loss. Dre matched a season low in shooting percentage and established a season high for turnovers.
TRILLION WATCH: Last season, Memphis forward Quincy Pondexter somehow posted an 11 trillion, which is nearly impossible. This season, Pondexter appears intent on outdoing himself. In Saturday’s loss to Atlanta, he played 20 minutes and had zeros everywhere except rebounds (2) and fouls (4). Not a trillion, of course, but a stunning lack of effort given his minutes. As far as true trillions go, Orlando’s DeQuan Jones, New York’s Chris Copeland, Miami’s James Jones and Atlanta’s Anthony Tolliver all had 3 trillions, leaving them well short of season leader Josh Childress of Brooklyn and his 8 trillion masterpiece on Nov. 15.