Warriors slipping and schedule doesn't get easier

676160.jpg

Warriors slipping and schedule doesn't get easier

The Warriors took Sunday off, after losing a pair ofback-to-back road games. One was a blowout 120-87 to the Oklahoma CityThunder; the other a closing-second loss to the Memphis Grizzlies104-103.On Monday morning the Warriors will hold shoot-around andthen play the LA Clippers at Oracle that night.After Monday nights game, youre not going to see theWarriors for a while, not at home anyway.The Warriors wont play again at home until March 7 aftersix consecutive road games.

In other words, this is a critical time for the Warriors,currently on a three-game losing streak. As they approach the halfway point ofthis abbreviated season, they are 11-17 and quickly losing contact with .500.And they dont do well on the road just 3-8 so far this year.Their opponents arent a piece of cake, either. After theClippers (third in Western Conference) the Warriors play on the road againstPhoenix (where theyve lost 13 in a row), Indiana (19-12), Atlanta (19-12),Philadelphia (20-11), Toronto and Washington.Once the Warriors come out of that they come home and playthe defending champion Mavericks and then Memphis again. But lets not getahead of ourselves.If the Warriors only get one or two wins on that road trip,the fans are likely to turn their attention away from the playoffs (the oneswho havent already) and towards this summers NBA draft.After all, by that point theyd be nine or 10 games under.500 with more than half the season over. In addition, theyd still have moreroad games remaining than home games. In other words, a tough environment inwhich to go on any kind of extended winning streak.Of course, there will still be interest in how the Warriorsfinish up because it will affect their draft position and whether they evenhave a first-round pick at all.The Utah Jazz will get the Warriors first-round pick if itfalls outside of the top-7. Before Sundays games, the Warriors were tied withCleveland for the ninth-worst record in the NBA.

Draymond laughs at Jazz coach Quin Snyder: 'Like bro ... just chill'

Draymond laughs at Jazz coach Quin Snyder: 'Like bro ... just chill'

The Warriors left Utah with a 106-99 victory over the Jazz.

With 9.3 seconds remaining and the Warriors up by eight points, Kevin Durant was hit with a technical foul.

Draymond Green walked over to Durant and started laughing. Why?

"We were laughing at Quinn Snyder who kept calling timeouts," Draymond told reporters after the game. "Like bro, you're down 10 with six seconds left, it's kinda over my man."

[POOLE: Warriors fight off fatigue & complacency, win 'weird game' in Utah]

After Zaza Pachulia missed two free throws with the Warriors ahead by 11 and 1:05 remaining, the Jazz got the rebound and immediately called timeout.

After Draymond made one of two free throws with 49.4 seconds left to make it 104-94, Utah called another timeout.

After Steph Curry made a free throw to give the Warriors an eight-point lead with 9.3 seconds left, Quin Snyder used his final timeout.

Warriors play-by-play broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald said: "Utah is gonna use another time out. Quin Snyder is just practicing game-ending situations."

Analyst Jim Barnett responded with: "Absolutely, that's what he's doing."

"Just let us go to the restaurant and have a good dinner; just chill," Draymond added. "That's what we were laughing at. Nothing about the tech ... that was funny. But that's all it was."
 

Warriors fight off fatigue & complacency, win 'weird game' in Utah

Warriors fight off fatigue & complacency, win 'weird game' in Utah

The Warriors smelled trouble from the moment they left Los Angeles for their overnight flight to Salt Lake City, where on Thursday night, precisely 20 hours after they disposed of the Clippers in LA, they would face the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz announced Wednesday that four players – including three starters – would be out with injuries.

Trap Game, eh? It’s not a clich√©, not in today’s NBA, where the schedule is both unforgiving and remorseless.

And then on Thursday morning the Warriors received information that a fourth Utah starter, leading scorer Gordon Hayward, also would not be available.

With one healthy Jazz starter greeting the hottest team in the league, the Warriors caught a slight whiff of Eau de Upset. Acutely aware they were facing a severely shorthanded squad the Warriors swallowed hard and went immediately for the blowout.

They failed. Though they would win their 16th of 17 games and run their record to 20-3 by silencing the Jazz, 106-99, the Warriors also got a reminder that severely patchwork teams tend to bring the fight.

“It wasn’t pretty,” Stephen Curry told reporters at Vivint Smart Home Arena, “but got a win.”

Oh, it was beautiful early. The Warriors running and gunning and smothering Utah, taking a 29-5 lead barely eight minutes into the game and holding a 65-46 advantage at the half. They were achieving their goal of quickly opening this gift of a game to allow their starters to watch most of the second half.

Rarely is it that easy under these circumstances, and this would not be an exception. When patchwork NBA teams accept that winning is not an option, they set about avoiding embarrassment.

With a 12-0 run in the middle of the third quarter, the Jazz cut the deficit to nine (73-64), and when the Warriors steadied themselves to go up 14 (80-66) with 2:45 left in the third, the Jazz fashioned a 13-4 run to narrow it to 84-79.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr blamed it on a “lack of focus,” which is a symptom of presuming victory.

“Our first quarter was great; we pushed the ball. Our defensive intensity was fantastic and then we let down,” Kerr said. “We started turning it over with some careless, purposeless plays. We didn’t really have an idea of what we were trying to accomplish and then some defensive mistakes like not getting out on their shooters, and they took advantage.”

Outscoring the Warriors 53-41 in the second half, the Jazz – playing without Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood and George Hill – made the vastly superior team sweat.

“They obviously played with a lot of energy,” said Curry, who scored a game-high 26 points. “They didn’t fold and we got a little stagnant on offense, it happens, but you just got to be able to finish the game out. The way we started gave us an opportunity to withstand their run and never really have the game out of hand.”

Kevin Durant ensured there would be no upset, performing the closeout with an 11-point fourth quarter. He scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half.

“Just tried to be aggressive,” Durant said. “I didn’t do a good job attacking throughout the game. I thought that was a good opportunity for me to attack. I got to the free throw line and that got me going. I got some dunks, a few cuts and Steph [Curry] helped me out as well.

“It was a weird game. It was a grind out game. We started off so well and then a three-pointer got them back in the game. They played physical later on the game and were able to take us out of our game a little bit, but we kept fighting and we got a good win on a back-to-back.”

In defeating the Jazz, the Warriors also held off two more formidable foes: fatigue and complacency. There are nights, and this was one of them, when the path to victory requires beating all three.