Golden State Warriors need to stop dismissing regular season losses

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 20: Nick Young
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 20: Nick Young /

The hubris of the Golden State Warriors hit an all-time high when a couple players waved off the significance of their 116-108 loss to the Houston Rockets.

The reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors lost their regular season series tiebreaker to the Houston Rockets, but apparently, it doesn’t matter.

For whatever reason, the Warriors have absolutely no concern over what happens during the regular season, and therein lies a problem that has enough destructive potential to ruin the foundation on which the organization is built: Hubris.

Following their 116-108 loss to the Rockets on Saturday, Kevin Durant was asked whether it mattered that the Warriors had dropped their season series tiebreaker to Houston, but the former MVP dismissed the notion.

“The season starts over when you’re in the playoffs anyway, so it doesn’t matter,” said Durant. “You’re going to have to get through these teams to get to where you want to go. You have to play at home and on the road, so it really doesn’t matter. We just want to be playing good basketball when it comes down to that point.”

Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green shared Durant’s sentiment, completely waving off the significance of a regular season loss to the second seed in the Western Conference.

“It’s game 40-what? Seven, eight?” Green said. “Who we play on Tuesday? We just got to get ready for [New York]. Home court will take care of itself down the road.”

Frankly, this kind of dialogue is incredibly unsettling considering how often the Warriors display this same type of carelessness on the floor. Time and time again, the Dubs seem to come out of the gates slow, relying on their talent in the second half to get them out of losing situations.

Other times, the Warriors just go into the game completely unfocussed, leading to poor defensive stretches and a plethora of unforced turnovers.

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Then after the game, the Warriors just admit that they know they can play better and that the playoffs are where games actually matter anyway.

If you know that you can play better, then why does it take almost half a year for you to actually try your best?

Against the Rockets, the Warriors went completely scoreless in the last three minutes against a team that allows the 12th-most points in the NBA (106.9) and allows opponents to shoot 47.1 percent from the field (23rd) and and 37.4 percent from behind the arc (37.4).

How is it that a team with three of the best scorers in the NBA could go scoreless for three whole minutes and be held to just 17 points in the fourth quarter?

In addition, the Warriors threw away 19 turnovers and allowed 12 offensive rebounds. They just weren’t locked in all game, and the Rockets were smart to take advantage.

After the game, a couple Rockets players were quick to display their newfound confidence, including Clint Capela, who strongly believes Houston is better than Golden State.

If there’s one thing the Warriors should be concerned about, it’s how their losses only help fuel enemy morale, giving teams a strong mental edge.

But while I firmly agree that the Warriors have little to be concerned with the Rockets as they are constructed right now, it’s become more and more evident that Golden State’s true opponent has always been themselves.

As cliché as that may sound, the Warriors are clearly the only obstacle keeping them from being at their best, and it’s become increasingly frustrating to watch because we’ve all seen how dominant they can be.

Of course, I understand that the Warriors have their hearts set on winning another championship. I understand that’s how we as fans grade success. I understand their concern with injuries.

But when you consider just how far off the postseason still is, the Warriors are naive to think that all the losses they suffer in the regular season won’t have any effect on how they perform in the playoffs.

Next: 3 takeaways from loss to Houston

Simply going through the motions could result in developing bad habits like being careless with the ball, not boxing out, or not being locked in defensively — all things we know the Dubs are guilty of in their losses.

Now that we’re in the second half of the season, the Warriors need to focus on fixing their problems prior to the playoffs, and the only way to accurately realize the severity of their problems is to play their best basketball — in the regular season.