A barrage of 3’s erupted in the confines of Chase Center Monday night.
Gone are the days where you’d expect the Warriors to be the ones doing the bombarding, but it’s still a shock to see the once midrange-happy Utah Jazz (7-3) be the ones lighting up the Warriors (2-9) from deep.
That’s exactly what happened in the 122-108 loss to the Jazz. Utah put up 16 3’sm and everyone across the roster had their turn.
The Warriors also couldn’t stop reaching, and piled up the fouls and sent the Jazz to the line 32 times, more than double their own total. And when you give up 3’s and free throws, there’s really no chance to be in the game.
Steve Kerr said the results are obviously not what they want, but they can’t feel sorry for themselves:
“They have a lot to play for, all these guys. It’s discouraging to be 2-9, but it’s a long season and there’s no reason why we can’t get on a run and win some games and feel better about things.”
D’Angelo Russell did all he could to keep the game close and continues to ride his hot streak since he returned from that ankle injury. Over his last three games coming into Monday, he’s averaging 37.3 points on 47.5 percent shooting, and is lasering in 4.7 3’s per game over that span.
Russell went for 18 points in the opening frame, but more than that, it was 18 straight points for the Warriors all coming in a four-minute window. He even drilled four straight 3’s, reminiscent of Stephen Curry, who cheered courtside with a bright blue cast on his broken left hand.
He finished with 33 points, the fourth-straight game he’s broken the 30 mark on 13-of-25 from the field.
It was bittersweet for the Warriors faithful to see such an offensive explosion, not just because it reminded everyone of who the Warriors were missing, but also the way Russell poured in the points.
He controls the ball and by extension the entire offense and it’s almost impossible to find a possession that doesn’t start with a high pick-and-roll. This is the offense that almost everyone envisioned Curry running to start the season.
The return of high-usage Curry had even the staunchest Warriors hater salivating to witness. But we know how that went. The offense was essentially the same one the team used when they were starting five All-Stars with Curry setting backscreens and working off ball.
It was rough — then Curry broke his hand, and Steve Kerr was forced to adjust.
Out of that has come this pick-and-roll heavy offense in which Russell has put up these godly numbers. It’s made not just the newcomer look exponentially more comfortable, but the entire team seems to be thinking less and just playing off of Russell.
Alec Burks continues to fill up the scoring column with 10 more Monday and has been in double digits for five straight games.
Jordan Poole is picking his spots more and put up 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting, the first time he’s shot over 33 percent in six games.
About the only person who didn’t look comfortable with the new offensive structure was Draymond Green, who played for the first time since tearing ligaments in his left index finger the night before Halloween.
Kerr said it’s a crazy position Green is in right now, coming back to a brand-new team:
“He’s easing his way back from injury, but he’s also easing his way into a team he’s never really seen before. These sorts of circumstances are really bizarre for Draymond… now it’s a totally different look, we’re running a totally different offense. Over the last week we’ve really changed the way we played with our offensive sets and how we’ve attacked teams. So, it’s kind of a strange case where the guy who’s been here the longest is the newest to what we are doing.”
Green echoed Kerr’s thoughts on how different this team feels to him:
“Just adjust to our offense, like this is a completely different offense we run, I don’t know if you noticed or not, but it ain’t our normal offense. So just adjust to that, kind of find my spots and kind of figure out where I fit in the offense and spacing, and different stuff like that. It’ll happen pretty quickly.”
In this new look offense, he’s handling the ball less and more often turned into a straight spot-up shooter, not a great option for someone who’s shot 29.5 percent from 3 over the last three seasons.
Green said it’s definitely a big change, but one he’s not worried about:
“A lot, because I don’t really have the ball in my hands, I’ve always been a playmaker and I don’t really have the ball much, so it affects. But it’s nothing, just figure it out, it’s not the first time in my career I’ve had to figured something out.”
It’ll be a work in progress to integrate Green to this new system while also balancing giving him the playmaking chances he so excels at. They didn’t have much time to work on it Monday, as Green got ejected after playing 22 minutes.
But they’ll have plenty of time to integrate everyone as they slowly comeback from injuries. It’s not about wins and losses, it’s all about development.
Golden State embarks on a short, one-game road trip to Los Angeles, where they’ll take on the division leading Lakers Wednesday, before returning home for a game against the Boston Celtics Friday.
Omari Spellman missed Monday night’s game with a sprained ankle he suffered in the loss to the Thunder. … Stephen Curry said before the game that he plans to come back and play this season contrary to what some had heard earlier this week. He also broke the news that he’ll need a second surgery around December to remove the pins that were put in his hand.