The Golden State Warriors learned a thing or two from their 102-94 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.
They fell to a superior team, one that contains the ingredients that the Warriors so deeply desire: a lethal starting lineup, strong defensive players, and most importantly, bench depth. The Warriors’ bench was clearly outplayed late in the first quarter by their Pacers’ counterparts, which allowed Indiana to take a 35-21 lead at the end of one. Then, despite a valiant comeback attempt by the Warriors, the Pacers clamped down on defense late and held off a late push.
The players know that they put up a good fight, but against the NBA’s best team, “good” is not enough.
Said center Andrew Bogut to Carl Steward of the Bay Area News Group: “(The Pacers) are a team built for a championship, you can see that. We’re close, but we’re not there yet.”
Clearly, they aren’t, despite the beliefs of their ownership group and many of their fans. Not with their inconsistent bench. Not with their tendency to “live or die” by the three-pointer. Not with their defense, which has improved, but is not championship-caliber. Not with their turnovers.
However, head coach Mark Jackson knows they just need to clean up their act and are close to taking that next step.
“I like the fact that we made mistakes, gave up 17 offensive rebounds while turning the ball over and we were still in the ballgame,” he said. “When we begin to take of the little things it’s going to be scary at how good we can be.”
We’re past the midway point of the season, and the Warriors are in the exact same position in the Western Conference as they finished last season.
If they are to show that they can be “scary good,” they’re running out of time.