For the second time in a week, the Golden State Warriors couldn’t overcome their lack of focus and malaise. As as result, the Warriors once again took an “L” as the Los Angeles Clippers eked by the visiting champs 121-116 in overtime.
Kevin Durant lead the way with a triple double, 33 points/11 rebounds/10 assist. While Klay Thompson scored 31 off of 13-for-31 from the field, and Andre Iguodala chipped in with 14 points.
Here are some quick observations from Monday night’s action.
Put some respect on Steph Curry’s name
Critics of the Warriors love to downplay what Stephen Curry does for the team. They’d say “Oh, he has four other all stars around him”. Or, they would say, “Put _____ on the Warriors and they still win the title”. Monday’s loss in LA is just another example why the narratives discrediting Curry’s importance to the team are false and disrespectful.
Granted, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson combined for 64 points, but it still didn’t negate the fact that the Warriors lacked adequate spacing without Curry on the floor. Curry’s absence may not have been the sole factor of this loss but it shouldn’t be ignored either.
Must Protect the Paint
The Clippers outscored the Warriors in the paint 62-36. This is the trend that inspired my previous piece regarding a change at center. The Warrior’s lack of rim protection is nothing new. Critics and pundits consistently screamed this flaw from the rafters. What’s new is the Warriors allowing opponents to get whatever they want there. This is all on the bigs. What was Damian Jones’ line last night? 0 points/1 rebound/ 3 assists. Kevon Looney? How about 9 points/4 rebounds/2 assist. Jordan Bell? Try 2 points and a rebound.
Kevin Durant as Point Forward
Obviously in Curry’s absence, Durant’s usage and touches increase. However, it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. The Curry-less Warriors are better off with Durant as a playmaker on the floor. Durant is such an elite and efficient scorer that he doesn’t need many shots to do his damage. The attention that he commands naturally sets up opportunities for others, and the Warriors would be foolish to not deploy KD in that way. The result? A triple double. In hindsight, the Warriors could have pulled the game out had Durant never fouled out. Had he played the extra stanza, the ball would have been in his hands and he would have gone deeper in his bag offensively to secure the win.
While it’s convenient to accuse the refs of manipulating an outcome, one can only question the officiation here. The Clippers took 34 trips to the charity stripe to the Warriors’ 23. Okay, fine. But, how could they explain this:
This is not a foul. I do understand how difficult it may be to make the correct call here especially in real time however when it’s this close you don’t change the course of the remainder of the overtime period and call KD for his 6th foul.
Warriors take the L. Atl tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/2UJG9aeRvM
— TheWarriorsTalk (@TheWarriorsTalk) November 13, 2018
Where’s the foul?
Durant did not touch Montrezz Harrell. Period. To add insult to injury, it was a late whistle. If the roles were reversed, I can guarantee you that the refs would make KD play through the contact.
Whatever. The game shouldn’t have escalated to the point where it’s in the official’s hands anyway.
Did Kerr make a mistake by not calling a timeout in regulation?
In addition to the lack of spacing and turnovers, another critical mistake could be that Kerr didn’t call time out in the closing minutes of the game. On one hand, I can understand why he didn’t call a timeout. Allowing Draymond Green to push the ball up court after the rebound could’ve caught the Clippers defense off guard. However, calling a timeout would have allowed Kerr to come up with a solid ATO play. Consequently, calling a timeout probably would have prevented the Durant and Green blowup.
Making a mountain out of a molehill
The NBA is the best drama and “reality show” on TV, and social media is the biggest water cooler in the world. Fans, especially the haters are taking this clip of Durant and Green blowing up at each other and running a marathon with it.
First of all, the occasional blow up is nothing new with this team. Durant and Green ‘fussing’ is nothing new.
Some people really acting like Draymond and KD haven’t been through this several times. They have 2 championships together. I think they will survive
— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) November 13, 2018
Nothing at all to see here.
They always fussin at each other lol https://t.co/0G6Kntnrv0
— Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (@ROSGO21) November 13, 2018
Likewise, Shaun Livingston chalked this up to team spirit. This “dust up” or whatever you want to call it is nothing but teammates holding each other accountable. Durant should have had the ball in his hands. His anger was very understandable. However, you can also see Green’s point of view especially since Kerr didn’t call a time out. Regardless, the right call was giving Durant the damn ball. Green knows it and after the blowup, he probably let that be known to Durant. And just like that, the air is cleared.
This argument, just like this game, is much to do about nothing.
Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images