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Late run goes for naught, Warriors waste hot shooting night against Pacers

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After their demoralizing performance the last time out against the Jazz, the Warriors were a determined bunch Friday night. They used that grit to cut a 19-point deficit down to four. The problem was, that still wasn’t close to being enough to topple a much more talented team, and they inevitably fell to the Indiana Pacers, 129-118.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Warriors locker room at Chase Center.
Unlike the Jazz game, Golden State didn’t get dominated inside. The Warriors actually won the rebounding matchup, it was the turnovers that did them in. D’Angelo Russell had five, Draymond Green had four, and the team totaled 20, most of which were just easy giveaways. Those directly led to 33 Pacers points, and that’s almost impossible to overcome. There’s nothing that angers Steve Kerr more than turnovers, so it was no surprise he was disappointed in his team after the game:
“That first half,, I think we were outscored 18 to four off of turnovers. And for the game it’s 33 to 11, we turn it over 20 times to their 12. … Tough to win a game against a good team when you’re when you’re doing that.”
The two stars did balance out their carelessness with the ball by contributing in other ways though. Russell had himself a night on the offensive end, with 37 points on nine 3’s, routinely pulling from deep and rendered the Pacers pick-and-roll defense non-existent. Marquese Chriss said that Russell is the perfect partner for him on the perimeter:
“I’m never really surprised when he gets hot like that. I like playing with him, he gives me the ball in spots where I can make plays for myself and for other people. And I just like setting screens for him really because he shoots it, so the person got to step up, so if he makes it, it is what it is, if he misses, I might get a tip dunk.”
But he wasn’t the only one to put on a shooting display, as a team the Warriors shot 49.4 percent from the field. They would have shot 50 percent for just the second time all year but a few garbage time chucks pushed them just below that threshold. Glenn Robinson III had 18 of his own on 7-of-10 shooting, and Green chipped in 10 points and 11 assists. The Warriors even got scoring from their bench, with all four bench players scoring at least nine points apiece. But when you can’t keep control of the ball, wins are hard to come by, even if you’re shooting the lights out. Chriss, who started the game, was a perfect 5-of-5, and he will start to see extended run, maybe even as the starting center going forward, after the trade of Willie Cauley-Stein Friday. And he provided some needed energy for the team, which Chriss said has been the message to the team recently:
“I think we just went into the lockerroom realizing we weren’t giving our best effort and I think that was a number one key on the board. It was really the only key, to just play hard. We weren’t doing that, we just would let them outplay us on the offense and defensive ends.”
The trade also opened up minutes for Eric Paschall at the four, where Steve Kerr has struggled finding him playing time. Pachall looks much more active at the power forward spot, despite his claim that he approaches the position the same way he does at other spots. He is in position for more rebounds and has picked up his production in the area recently, all while continuing to show off his scoring acumen. Kerr said it’s something he wants to see more especially because Paschall’s body can hold up to it:
“I think it’s something we’ll look at a little bit more as we go down the second part of the season. Eric is strong enough to handle a lot of fours and fives in the league defensively, so he needs to get some experience there too.”
He battled Domantas Sabonis for most of the game, but Sabonis got the best of him in the box score, finishing with 16 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. The Pacers got scoring from everywhere it seemed, though. Professional scorer T.J. Warren had 33, while Doug McDermott had 24 off the bench on 9-of-10 shooting. Though it is easier to score when you don’t have to set up your halfcourt offense because you’re getting free chances off of turnovers. One of the positives from this tough season is that the Warriors aren’t losing in the same ways every game. It seems like whenever they plug a leak, like their early season defense, something else goes wrong and causes them to lose. And while that has been demoralizing, because they keep losing, at the very least it means they are fixing some mistakes. They just don’t have enough hands to plug all the leaks, and they won’t for the foreseeable future.

Up Next

It will be a much-needed break for the Warriors, who will have three full days of rest before flying out on a five-game road trip. And awaiting them are the struggling Philadelphia 76ers, who have slipped all the way to sixth in the Eastern Conference.

Notes

Earlier Friday, the Warriors struck a deal with the Mavericks and sent starting center Willie Cauley-Stein to Dallas for Utah’s 2020 second round pick. The moves saves Golden State money as well as opens another roster spot for Marquese Chriss to be converted to a regular contract if they want.
Curtis Uemura is SFBay’s Golden State Warriors beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @CUemura on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Warriors basketball.
Curtis Uemura

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