Sometimes, a day off can ease the pain of an ugly loss. Good thing the Warriors have three.
Golden State dropped a pair of games on back-to-back nights against the Lakers and Nuggets. If you sat down with the schedule before the season started, you probably would have figured they’d lose those games (if you were being realistic), but you probably wouldn’t have expected them to lose them in the way they did.
Against the Lakers, Golden State simply didn’t make shots. That’s going to happen to a team that relies so heavily on jumpers, but it was also a disturbing continuation of the cold shooting that cost them an easy one in Sacramento.
Against Denver, the Warriors lost a heartbreaker. Klay Thompson is getting a lot of the blame for missing a pair of free throws (the only two he shot in almost 55 minutes) that could have sealed it. He compounded the misses by subsequently falling asleep when the Warriors had a foul to give, allowing the Nuggets to tie the game. It’s pretty easy to pin this one on Thompson, but the Warriors got crushed on the boards, shot under 40 percent (again) and made just 60 percent of their free throws. Everybody is culpable for the loss; Thompson is just the one who most obviously screwed up.
The point here is that the Warriors, a franchise with all sorts of experience with failure, are finding new ways to lose. In a season where there are real signs of organizational progress—Golden State is now in the middle of the pack in defense and rebounding—these losses are extra-painful. The margin for error is razor thin (as always) in the West, so the Dubs will have to either tighten up or miss the playoffs again. That’s all there is to it.