Warriors Must Sharpen Up Before Postseason


Despite playing their hardest down to the wire, the Golden State Warriors simply fell short to the playoff-hungry Pelicans on Tuesday night. While several questionable calls favored the Pelicans at the end of the game, the Warriors failed to execute down the stretch and ultimately were unable to grind out the win. With four regular season games to go, the Warriors must address some issues before heading into the postseason where every loss counts.

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Klay Thompson‘s shooting slump is a legitimate concern, especially with playoffs around the corner. He’s hit 5-of-21 shots over the last two games and only one three-pointer in that span. He’s shooting a a dismal 38.1 percent from the field for the month of April. Klay’s also had the second largest drop off in PER after the All-Star break.  A player of his caliber cannot afford such a drastic drop in production with the Warriors seeking a deep playoff run.

His shot selection has been poor lately, and as a result, hasn’t found an offensive rhythm. Klay has looked to drive to the basket less often, which may be due the mental damage of the minor ankle injury he suffered several weeks ago. Instead, he’s settling for some contested jumpers or fadeaways which may work at times, but are generally low percentage shots. It’s obvious that he needs to regain his focus since the Warriors absolutely need his firepower in the postseason. He committed four turnovers on Tuesday night including a late traveling call near the end of the fourth to kill any momentum the Warriors had going for them. It’s hard to imagine that he won’t pick up the slack soon, but currently it’s hard to watch him struggle so badly.

Apr 4, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes (40) shoots past Dallas Mavericks guard Rajon Rondo (9) during the second half at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Harrison Barnes is another guilty starter. He’s hit ZERO threes and is shooting at a horrid 36.4 percent from the field over the last four games. It’s understandable that Barnes is still developing his game and his confidence, but as a starter for the top team in the NBA, it’s a crime to be so massively inconsistent.

Besides his game winner against Phoenix, he really hasn’t contributed much else on offense. His corner three isn’t falling anymore and he isn’t proficient at taking it to the rim. He’s looked lost during crucial moments. He almost lost the game on two blown defensive rotations during the Suns game, and failed to contest P.J. Tucker‘s shot which gave Phoenix the lead.

After Curry regained the lead, Barnes completely failed to rotate onto a wide open Eric Bledsoe which could have sealed the game. Barnes was helpless against Kawhi Leonard during the Spurs’ thrashing of the Warriors on Sunday. He has had some great moments during key possessions this season, but with such a huge drop off on both ends of the floor, Kerr might be thinking twice about his starting lineup for the playoffs especially with Andre Iguodala playing so well.

The Warriors’ magical third quarter adjustments have seemingly disappeared since the thriller with Phoenix. Andrew Bogut, who finished the game with a career-high nine blocks, was forced to leave the game early in the third quarter after picking up three quick fouls. The Warriors’ defensive presence subsequently lost its effectiveness in the third as they gave up 36 points in the quarter. For whatever reason, Festus Ezeli logged zero minutes against the Pelicans. Without a big body in the paint, Anthony Davis and the Pelicans feasted in the third quarter.

The Warriors don’t have anything left to play for in the regular season, with homecourt advantage through the playoffs already locked up. However, they need wins to gain some positive momentum before heading into the playoffs. As starters, Klay and Barnes can’t afford to produce duds any longer. Every member needs to be locked in at all times.

These consecutive losses might have been good losses since they were against potential playoff match ups. We can expect Steve Kerr and his staff to make the necessary adjustments come playoff time and we can definitely expect the Warriors to play like they’re hungry for a title.

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