Jackson: 'Nobody is gonna feel sorry for where we are right now'
Reason No. 1 not to panic: No team has a more favorable finishing stretch than the Warriors. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
The Warriors’ season was going swimmingly 'till about a week ago. They were 30-17, and much of the talk centered on which team would be a good first-round matchup for Golden State and whether securing homecourt in the first round was possible.
But since then, the Warriors have lost five consecutive games, and the defeats haven’t been pretty. In four of the losses, the Warriors gave up 116 points or more points, including yielding 140 points to Houston on Feb. 5.
The Warriors are still in the No. 6 position in the Western Conference, but now they’ve got Utah and Houston nipping at their heels. The Warriors still have a five-game cushion over No. 9 Portland and a 5 1/2–game lead over the Lakers.
Many Warriors fans are thinking the worst -– that this team isn’t nearly as good as they looked early in the season. Well, I’m here to tell you to relax. Yes, the Warriors have dropped five straight, and, yes, you’re going to have to sit on that for about a week, but everything is still fine. Better than fine, if you must know.
Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t be panicking about the Warriors right now:
1. Look at the schedule: No team has a more favorable finishing stretch than the Warriors. Of their final 22 games, 16 will be played at Oracle Arena. Of those 16 home games, get a load of some of these opponents: Toronto, Sacramento, Milwaukee, Detroit, Washington, Sacramento, Portland, New Orleans and Minnesota.
Rest assured, the Warriors shouldn’t be fading down the stretch, they should be surging.
2. It’s obvious, fatigue is the issue: It was apparent to the naked eye over the past week that the Warriors were tired. They had no bounce and little energy. They were a step slow defensively and they didn’t execute as crisply as they had been offensively.
David Lee, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson all have logged big minutes this season, and it’s really as simple as they’re beat right now.
The Warriors have six full off days before returning to action on Tuesday. There’s no reason the Warriors of November and December can’t show up.
3. Nowhere to go but up with Bogut: OK, so the transition to Andrew Bogut at center hasn’t gone as smoothly as expected. That’s still shouldn’t be a concern. Bogut is just now getting into basketball shape and the goal should be to have him ready to play 30 minutes per night by the end of the season.
Bogut hasn’t been anything special in the relatively few games he has played for Golden State, but he still has a lot of contributing to do. It’s important to remember that, regardless of the current struggles, Bogut is the Warriors’ best interior defender, best shot-blocker and best rebounder.
4. Nothing scary over their shoulder: Yes, Utah and Houston have closed the gap some on the Warriors in terms of the standings. But those aren’t the teams the Warriors need to worry about.
The two teams the Warriors have to worry about are the Portland Trail Blazers and the L.A. Lakers. Right now the Blazers are No. 9 and the Lakers are No. 10. But they’re still a long, long way from the Warriors.
The reality is that for the Warriors not to make the playoffs it will take three more teams leap-frogging them in the standings. That seems quite unlikely.
5. They’ve done the defense thing already: If this were another year, it would make sense to worry about the Warriors’ defense.
After all, it’s been very bad lately. But this is a different Warriors team. This is a team that has defended well for consistent stretches this year, and so, it knows it can do it again.
In the recent past, the Warriors never proved they could consistently stop teams. This year, the Warriors have been able to do that … so, you’ve got to figure they’ll remember how in the second half.