The Golden State Warriors — who have now fallen to No. 3 in the West — keep finding new ways to lose games. On Saturday night, for example, against a sub-.500 Lakers team that was missing Anthony Davis, they allowed LeBron James to drop his highest point total since he was still in a Cavs uniform.
While LeBron’s incredible 56-point bomb stole the headlines, though, some of what transpired was actually business as usual for the Warriors… in the worst possible way.
For much of the contest, the Dubs looked to be cruising to a big win. They led by as many as 14 points during the second quarter and continued to own a double-digit lead throughout the third quarter. Instead of hitting LA with a knockout punch though, Golden State seemingly dropped its hands down the stretch.
According to Warriors coach Steve Kerr, that tendency to ease up has been a recurring issue for the club.
The Warriors Aren’t Flipping the Kill Switch
During his postgame presser, Kerr described the phenomenon in such a way as to suggest that it’s a fatal flaw.
“This has been a pattern during this bad spell for us. We are not stepping on teams when they’re down,” Kerr declared. “We’re making mistakes and allowing teams to hang around, and when you do that in this league you’re dead.”
Against the Lakers, the Warriors were outscored 35-22 during the final frame after having been up big during the previous quarter. On February 27 versus the Mavs, Kerr’s crew led almost the entire way, pushing the advantage to 21 during the third quarter. Dallas responded by winning the fourth, 33-13.
Then there was the Nuggets game on the 16th. Again, Golden State led the whole way, pushing the lead to 16 in the third. By night’s end, though, they had been beaten at the buzzer and outscored by nine points during the final period.
D-E-A-D dead. Over and over again.
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Kerr on Mounting Mistakes
It’s not just a lack of killer instinct doing the Warriors in, of course. On a very basic level, the team simply isn’t executing as well as its opponents. Said Kerr:
Every game is a compilation of 100 or so possessions for each side. And we talk about it all the time as a team. It’s just, can you minimize your mistakes over the course of the game by doing all the things that you gotta do to win?
Taking care of transition, boxing out, defending without fouling. Offensively, taking care of the ball, put the ball on the floor, move it, make the defense work. You know, all of these things that we talk about and work on every day. They all matter.
So, over the course of those 200 possessions, we’re making way too many mistakes execution-wise at both ends. So, we’re not giving ourselves a chance to win.