All wins are not created equal, friends, and the Golden State Warriors proved that by somehow bumbling their way to an 87-83 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night that couldn’t possibly have inspired less confidence.
Golden State shot the ball at a 36 percent clip, committed 17 turnovers and got next to nothing from its point guard duo. Yet, the Kings came through as they often do, showing the kind of clueless dysfunction that has become their trademark in recent years. To be fair to Sacramento, though, it had enjoyed two straight wins against these Warriors this year.
Anyway, the big takeaway from this game isn’t really a new one. Golden State has been playing some pretty poor basketball for nearly a month, and its performance against the Kings didn’t do much to alter the course of that trend. I mean, how on earth can a team with as much offensive talent as the Warriors shoot just 36 percent against the worst defensive club in the NBA?
That’s right, Golden State, supposed offensive juggernaut, totaled just 87 points against a Sacramento defense that graciously permits over 109 per 100 possessions. Against the Kings, all you have to do is move the ball and wait for a defensive breakdown. Viewers of the Warriors over the past month should be familiar with this process, as it’s pretty much the tactic opposing teams have employed against the Dubs lately.
But instead of patiently swinging the rock and looking for bigs at the elbows, Stephen Curry and Jarrett Jack tried to dribble around massive overplays up top. The result was far too many possessions that ended with a hurried shot or a rushed pass out of a trap 40 feet from the basket.
In short, the Kings can’t defend, but the Warriors sure made it look like they could on Wednesday.
Of particular individual concern was yet another awful performance by Jack, who couldn’t hit a shot (3-of-14 from the field) and committed a couple of costly turnovers in the fourth quarter. After making a strong case for Sixth Man of the Year, he’s been playing more like the last man off the bench.
Over the five games prior to Wednesday’s tilt with the Kings, Jack had been shooting 30 percent from the field, 23 percent from long range and averaging as many turnovers per game (2.8) as assists. Suffice it to say, he’s regressing—hard.
I guess Klay Thompson’s go-ahead corner three with 7.5 seconds remaining must be mentioned here. It was a great shot off of a good find by David Lee. But even that play came as a result of the Kings, and particularly John Salmons, inexplicably failing to stay close to a dangerous shooter on the most dangerous spot on the court. Thanks for that one, John.
This has been an excessively negative post, but it’s hard to muster any forward-looking enthusiasm after a “win” like this. Still, with the Houston Rockets losing to the Dallas Mavericks and the Utah Jazz dumping a game to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State was fortunate to create a little breathing room in a suddenly suffocating bottom tier of the Western Conference playoff ladder.
That’s the only positive I’m prepared to identify, though.
With five more games on a pivotal homestand, the Warriors are going to need to sort themselves out. They certainly didn’t start that process against the Kings.