Is Warriors loss to Pelicans a new normal in two?
The Warriors gave their fan base and even the road crowd a night to remember on Sunday in their 127-120 win over the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center. Hell, even the Houston bench couldn’t help but enjoy the show.
Klay Thompson scored 41 points and made 10 triples. Steph Curry dropped 33 points in one of the best overall games ever, adding 15 assists, six rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Andrew Wiggins he scored 22 points and Draymond Green he did what he does, handing out eight assists and grabbing six rebounds. The next night, they all wore street clothes in a 45-point loss.
None of Curry, Thompson, Wiggins or Green played Monday night against him New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. The result it was a 128-83 lossthe longest deficit in a Warriors loss this season, and the first time they failed to score at least 100 points.
Golden StateThe latest blowout loss begs the question: Is this the new normal for the Warriors in the backfield? Their understandably cautious approach isn’t doing them any favors in the short term.
“That’s one of those things, last year Draymond missed half the year with a back injury,” Kerr told reporters 90 minutes before kickoff. “You get into a situation where you start chasing your tail a little bit and you don’t listen to the performance team and all of a sudden guys are out for a long time. We just can’t risk that.
“I feel really bad for the fans here, but unfortunately that’s the way the schedule has been set up. It’s a shame.”
Through their first 18 games, the 8-10 Warriors have now played four back-to-back sets. They are 2-6 in those eight games and have won just once on the second night of a back-to-back. This only victory came a week ago against the San Antonio Spursbut it was at home and featured Curry, Green and Wiggins.
The only missing piece was Thompson, who sat out the second night of a back-to-back four times this season. He goes on to say that he would like to play as a back at some point this season, but has confidence in the coaching staff. The plan is unlikely to change in the near future.
Playing safety with Thompson is both the plan and understandable. The same goes for Green, whose career has been centered around his body defying the odds. Curry and Wiggins are the most curious additions to this cautious approach.
In the case of Curry, he is the oldest of the group and will turn 35 in March. He has an injury history, missing the final two weeks of the regular season last March and then aggravating the same ankle injury in the NBA Finals. His injury designation this season has been because of soreness in his right elbow, and not just because of the amount of points he’s scoring every night.
Curry has his right elbow wrapped on the bench during games. The problem has not been addressed and it clearly has not been bad enough to slow it down. What about Wiggins?
He is only 27 years old. Wiggins isn’t exactly a vet like Steph, Klay or Draymond. In the two games he has missed, both on the road against the Pelicans, Wiggins has sat out with soreness in his left foot. Both games were also the second night in a row.
Kerr isn’t worried about the number of players who have been on the injury report early. He also didn’t hold back how the Warriors are different from other teams.
“No, not at all,” Kerr said when asked if he was worried. “We’ve been doing this for a long time and our players work very, very hard to stay fit and to play until June, which we’ve done six times in the last eight years. We also play a lot of TV national. We want more than any team in the league, year in and year out. We see a lot of teams turning their backs on a city. We don’t do any of that.
“We understand that we have a responsibility in this league with our position, the franchise that we are, to try to put on the best show that we can every night, but that also includes keeping guys healthy for the long term. We’re managing this from the best way we can.”
Here’s some good and bad news on the Warriors’ schedule: They still have 11 in a row. However, eight of his 15 streak are in his first 36 games. The final 46 have seven in a row.
With almost all of their decisions this year, the Warriors are taking a big, long-term view. They know what players like Curry, Thompson, Green and Wiggins can do for them in the regular season. They also know how much more valuable they are in the playoffs.
Andre Iguodala he doesn’t care about November basketball. The Warriors had their eyes on him in March, April, May and June when they brought him back for one final stint during the offseason. More experience is on the way, and that’s what the young Warriors gained Monday night.
“Yeah, experience,” Kerr said after the loss when asked about a silver lining. “We’ve got a bunch of guys, go down the roster — they need reps. They need basketball experience. We’ve got a couple of guys, a couple of sophomore guys, a couple of guys that haven’t played. a lot of basketball, so every match they play, every training session, is important.
“What I found early in my playing career was that it takes a couple of years to get comfortable playing on an NBA court. Unless you’re LeBron. [James] or someone like that, it definitely takes a couple of years. So we’ve got to be patient, and like I said, I’ve got to do a better job coaching them.”
One of those players was rookie Patrick Baldwin Jr. The No. 28 pick in last June’s NBA draft scored his first career points and made his first three-pointer.
Baldwin, 20, had seven points and also had six rebounds and three steals. The loss was just the third game he has played this season. On the night, he had played less than five total minutes in a Warriors uniform.
He ended up playing 15 in New Orleans.
“I think collectively as young players trying to figure it out in the league, we have to figure out how to compete,” Baldwin Jr. said. “Even when the odds might be against us. I think we did well at times tonight.
“I think tonight was just competition and heart, and I think naturally that’s what I took away from this game.”
Young players like Baldwin gained experience in the Big Easy, and that’s necessary with how the Warriors’ roster is built. Jonathan Kuminga, 20, played a game-high 39 minutes and scored 18 points. But it was a minus-38 in plus-minus. Moses Moody, 20, played 33 minutes off the bench, had 10 points but three turnovers and was a minus-29. Second round selection Ryan RollinsThe 20-year-old saw 16 minutes of action and finished with three points and three rebounds, but turned the ball over five times and was called for three fouls.
James Wiseman‘s experience is coming to the G League right now. He played his second game with the Santa Cruz Warriors, scoring 15 points in 23 minutes with 11 rebounds. Wiseman also turned the ball over five times and was a minus-7 in plus/minus rating, the only Santa Cruz player not to have a positive plus/minus.
Kerr won’t be able to save all of his veteran stars for the rest of the season. Thompson may not play back-to-back nights the entire time. Green will also have additional days off. There’s also reason to believe there’s a strategy to how Kerr has handled the schedule thus far.
Getting Iguodala back is one piece of the puzzle. So is the development of the young players, the give and take with this whole plan. The most important piece of all is the health of the Warriors’ Big Three, along with Wiggins and Jordan Poole. Everything else is secondary.
Understanding the Warriors rule is an impossible question. The unpredictability is part of what has made this all so special. Now, though, it feels a little different.
#Warriors #loss #Pelicans #normal