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Unable to thaw themselves, Warriors fall to Kings

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Despite the beautiful weather San Francisco enjoyed Tuesday, it was unusually chilly in Chase Center. And not metaphorically. Jackets and coats were out, draped over shoulders rather than the backs of chairs. It was also a bit nippy metaphorically. The Warriors were freezing from the field in their 112-94 loss to the Sacramento Kings.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Warriors locker room at Chase Center.
If there is one thing that we’ve learned over this season, it’s that when these Warriors are cold, they are really cold. Frigid. Like six percent from 3 in the first half — and the crazy part is that it only marginally improved after that. Ky Bowman said he liked the looks he was getting, they just didn’t fall:
“I mean we was getting open looks just from the reads and the cuts that we had, but shots wasn’t falling tonight. … Just the slow start hurt us, knowing that we got to come out better from the get-go.”
The bench went 1-of-16 combined in the first half — one made field goal. And yet, like they have done almost every game this season, they clawed their way back into the game to make it at least respectable. That’s an amazing feat, to shoot low double-digit percentage from downtown, commit 16 turnovers and not lose by 40. In typical fashion Steve Kerr was more upset about the turnovers than anything else:
“The turnovers killed us right away. I think we had like seven turnovers in the first maybe six, seven minutes of the game. They scored probably 10, 12 points off of those and that was that had us kind of swimming upstream for the rest of the night but I thought after that we settled down did some good things we just couldn’t string together enough good offensive possessions to ever, really make a big push.”
But all credit shouldn’t go to the Warriors. After all, they’re playing a Kings team that is almost equally as bad. Aside from Harrison Barnes, who put up 14 of his 21 points in the first quarter, no one stood out for Sacramento, especially after De’Aaron Fox had to leave a good portion of the game due to injury. Fox was able to return to the game and still finished with 18 points. It actually looked like the Warriors may have some kind of chance to sneak a win in the third quarter, but then reality set in. A conspiracist would say that some of the coaching decisions were tank-related. Like trotting out Bowman for 25 minutes, just five minutes fewer than Damion Lee, despite him playing one of the worst games of his career, exhibiting some questionable decision—making, and clanking every open shot. Or playing Dragan Bender at the four, flanked by either Kevon Looney and Marquese Chriss, rather than giving the 7-footer run at the center — after spending time and energy pregame defending him as such. He finally got his turn at the five with six minutes to go in the game, but made no impact on the final score. His frontcourt mate Chriss, however, double-doubled with 21 points and 10 rebounds. He led the way in the scoring column despite taking just 10 shots. Eric Paschall said that Chriss’ play has proved he can be a starting caliber player in this league, but specifically on this Warriors team next season:
“I feel like Marquese actually proved that awhile ago. We wanted him back for a reason, he plays his butt off and does all the right things, I feel like Marquese has definitely proved himself even before this.”
Andrew Wiggins was second on the team with 16 and illustrated just how starved for scoring the team is, although he also failed to account for any other stat outside of one assist. While his lack of aggressiveness seems to be a fault on the surface, it may be a positive for both him and the Warriors. If he can resist pounding the ball into mid-range jumpers or isolation attempts as part of this team that is abysmal on offense and craves offense, he can surely resist pounding the ball next to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson when they return. Kerr said that Wiggins has picked up the plays and system quickly, but he truly won’t be comfortable until Curry comes back:
“I think it’ll be a big deal when Steph comes back just so he can feel what it’s like playing next to Steph. So, I think that’s what the bigger thing is, and I think he’ll fit in nicely with those guys. But you know, we’re shorthanded right now and as we get healthier, I think I think you’ll see him fitting in better because he’ll be able to kind of fit into his role.”
But for now, this unselfish Wiggins is just another cog in a Warriors offensive machine that is close to breaking down.

Up Next

The Warriors are in the midst of another packed section of the schedule, where they have a slew of games on one-days rest. The Los Angeles Lakers will visit Thursday before Golden State takes a one game trip to Phoenix.
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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