Thursday night’s game against the Lakers at Chase was a tough watch for Steve Kerr and supporters in blue and gold alike. Actually, it was a tough watch for any fan of basketball.
It got so bad that Draymond Green did the only thing a sensible human being would do and forced an early departure by yelling his way into two technical fouls.
The three-time All-Star wasn’t around when the final buzzer sounded on Golden State’s 116-86 loss.
Green lasted just 10 minutes, but it wouldn’t have made much of a difference if he made it to 30. Andrew Wiggins was a late scratch, and Kerr started Dragan Bender in his place while the Lakers jogged to a 30-point blowout.
Damion Lee said that while Green missing in the second half was felt, the team has to play harder for him:
“I mean, obviously, his presence is always felt whatever he’s on the bench but things happen throughout the course of the game, and I mean we also have to step up for him. He believes in himself and we believe in him and for him to go out, we have to come back and fight more.”
It was a humiliation, Chase Center turned into Staples Center light, with Alex Caruso even getting loud MVP chants at the free throw line. But worse than that, it was a sloppy, chaotic game without a hint of enthusiasm from the Warriors.
Steve Kerr was visibly upset about his team’s performance postgame:
“Tonight was a step backwards in the second half. I was very disappointed with all the turnovers, we just let things slip away from us. For the most part this year has gone well in terms of our level of competition and focus and energy, and that second half was not up to our standards. We understand where we are record-wise, but we still have a standard that we have to play to and we do not do that.”
After Tuesday’s game, all the team could talk about was being doomed by turnovers, especially in the first quarter.
Two days later, they still haven’t solved that specific problem as the team piled up seven first quarter turnovers. The returning Green had three himself in his 10 minutes, and if it wasn’t for the giveaways the Warriors probably would have had a nice lead.
The two teams combined for 22 turnovers in the first half and there was barely any semblance of organized play.
Kerr said that it is tough without consistent lineups, that’s not creating the turnover problem:
“I think you can probably attribute a few of those to that to the continuity of the lineups. We’re putting some lineups out there that haven’t been together all year. Having said that, a lot of careless one-handed passing cross-court right into defenders’ arms. There were a lot of plays that just had nothing to do with continuity and everything to do with just poor fundamentals.”
However, in the midst of a painful experience, the Warriors gave themselves a glimmer of excitement.
Eric Paschall came off the bench for 16 points in the first half and finished with 23. He was also the only Warriors player to make a trip to the free throw line prior to the fourth quarter — a truly amazing stat.
Fellow rookie Jordan Poole had 16 of his own, marking the eighth straight game he’s topped double-digits. He was also the only other Warrior to score in double-figures outside of extended garbage time when Ky Bowman and Damion Lee padded their stats.
Poole also tweaked his leg and had to leave the game at one point, but returned and looks to have avoided any injury.
And it’s a good thing because the Warriors were shorthanded. When Poole went out, they had a total of eight healthy bodies, but even more startling than having more coaches on the bench than players was the quality of those players.
Only Kevon Looney, and Paschall were on regular NBA contracts to begin the season. Filling out the rest of the roster is three guys who are converted two-ways, two 10-day contracts and one rest-of-season contract.
The roster may look much different for Golden State’s next home game, with Andrew Wiggins hopefully recovered from his back spasms and Green not being ejected, and maybe, just maybe, Stephen Curry returning to the floor.
But even with those returns, the Warriors will not be a good team. They won’t be this miserably bad, but they won’t be good. And that’s their reality for the rest of the season.
The Warriors will at least get to sleep in their beds Thursday night before leaving early in the morning for a one-day trip to Phoenix. They’ll immediately board a flight home after the game for their back-to-back set against the Washington Wizards.
Another roster spot was filled Thursday, at least temporarily, when the team signed wing Mychal Mulder to a 10-day contract. Mulder, who doesn’t even have a head shot for his ESPN player profile, has played the last three seasons in the G-League. His most recent stop has been with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, where he averaged 17 points and shot 40 percent from deep. … Stephen Curry should have a concrete answer on if he will return Sunday Friday after practice. It’s been widely reported that he’s making his return Sunday, but the Warriors have been quick to retort that nothing has been decided yet.