The Golden State Warriors will get another opportunity to put on their dizzying passing display against a road-weary opponent when they host the Indiana Pacers on Monday night in San Francisco.
The Warriors recorded 30 or more assists for the ninth time in their past 11 games when they logged 34 in a 120-101 home win Saturday over the Houston Rockets, who were enduring the second night of a road back-to-back.
The Pacers will have to deal with the same handicap Monday, coming off a 116-100 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night.
Indiana’s date in Portland was its fifth on a seven-game trip that ends Wednesday at Minnesota. The Pacers are 1-4 on the trop, with the lone win coming Nov. 28 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Meanwhile, the Warriors haven’t lost a home game since falling to the Denver Nuggets 128-123 in the first week of the season. They’ve gone 10-0 since, giving them an 11-1 home record that is the best in the NBA.
The 34 assists in the win over the Rockets boosted Golden State’s season average to a league-leading 30.0. Only six teams in NBA history have finished a season at 30.0 or higher, including the Warriors in 2017, when they set a franchise record at 30.4 during their 67-win campaign.
The 1985 Los Angeles Lakers, led by Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, hold the all-time mark at 31.4.
The Warriors had 13 assists in the first quarter alone against the Rockets, running off to a 39-23 lead in a display that impressed their coach, Steve Kerr.
“I thought that was maybe the best stretch we’ve had all year to start the game,” he said of a run that went four minutes into the second period. “Maybe eight minutes left in the second quarter, we didn’t have any turnovers. We had like 16 assists. We were defending, rebounding and doing everything right … and then we just lost our focus.”
That helped the Rockets get as close as four in the final period, before the Warriors found the range again from beyond the arc, finishing off an entertaining show in which they shot 25-for-52 on 3-pointers.
The Warriors rested Klay Thompson on the second night of their own back-to-back against the Rockets, and they also could be a bit shorthanded Monday with Andrew Wiggins (right adductor tightness) and Jordan Poole (sore left ankle) both considered questionable.
The Warriors haven’t seen the Pacers since January, meaning they will encounter longtime nemesis Buddy Hield in an Indiana uniform for the first time.
Hield was dealt from Sacramento to Indiana in February along with Tyrese Haliburton, but the latter sustained a strained left groin on the Pacers’ current trip and is expected to miss his second consecutive game.
Hield helped keep the Haliburton-less squad in the game at Portland with 22 points and 11 rebounds. He hit four of his nine 3-point attempts.
“(Coach) Rick (Carlisle) does a good job of letting me play,” Hield said of his early success with the Pacers. “He’s putting me in good spots and letting me run the floor.”
The seven-year veteran has 71 career 3-pointers against the Warriors.
–Field Level Media