The Golden State Warriors turned a lot of heads in the month of January. But they didn’t turn all the heads in the right direction.
On paper, the Warriors didn’t have a bad month. They finished the first month of the new year with a 9-6 record, winning five of their first six and two of their last three. During January, they averaged their most points per game and had the fewest number of turnovers per game.
But they slipped to seventh in the Western conference and failed to pull away from their division rival Los Angeles Clippers during a month in which the Clippers didn’t have Chris Paul.
When the calendar turned to 2014, a lot of people were drinking the Warriors’ cool aid. And now that the calendar has turned to February, a lot of the Warriors’ love has disappeared.
One of the biggest causes of worry for the Warriors was their struggles on their home floor. Oracle Arena, the site of what is often the best home court advantage in the NBA, provided no such advantage. The Warriors were 3-4 at home in January. Before 2014, the Warriors hadn’t lost four games at home all season long and hadn’t had a losing month at home since April of 2011-12 when the makeup of the roster was very different then its makeup today. The Warriors shot only 44.3 percent from the field at home and only 33.3 percent from three at Oracle.
The Warriors struggled in close games as well losing to the Wolves by one, the Wizards by three, and Brooklyn by four points at the tail end of their seven game winning streak. The loss to Brooklyn will be overlooked as it was as at the end of their road trip and subsequentwin streak, but the loss to the Wizards by three at Oracle was a cause for concern.
Take these four consecutive Warriors possessions late in the fourth quarter during their bad loss to the Washington Wizards.
The Warriors’ only possession of these four that features a player attacking the basket ends in a Marcin Gortat block because the Warriors overloaded one side of the floor with three defenders. Gortat, who is actually Andrew Bogut’s defender is able to help Nene when David Lee attacks the rim.
Harrison Barnes’ struggles are also a cause for concern. He had only three double-digit scoring games all month and looked lost for long stretches of games all throughout the month. Barnes has to find some chemistry with the Warriors new backup point guard Jordan Crawford in order to make the Warriors second unit not substantially worse then their starting five.
Look for the Warriors to have more success in February as eight of their eleven games are against the Eastern Conference. The Warriors also must take advantage of a much needed All-Star break to prepare for their playoff push.