Highlights: Warriors' turnover woes continue in loss to Suns
PHOENIX – In the aftermath of a 106-102 loss to the Suns on Sunday that featured such familiar shortcomings as sluggish starts and abundant turnovers and sporadic defense, coach Mark Jackson questioned his team's will, if not its competitive heart.
"We are not playing 48 minutes with a sense of urgency," Jackson said. "That's the disappointing part. Right now, I would say it's not a slow start. We're not playing with a sense of urgency.
"We came in talking about being the hardest-working team because (Phoenix) plays extremely hard and they're talented. And we did not do that. I'm disappointed and we've got to find answers, individually and collectively.
"I'm finding that the guys in suits and ties want it more than the guys in the uniforms."
Jackson had every right to light into the Warriors, and he was so spot-on accurate nobody in the locker room could summon the gumption to argue.
"I absolutely agree," forward David Lee said.
"We haven’t played a 48-minute game in a long time," forward Draymond Green said.
"They're putting together good game plans and we're just not executing them right now," point guard Stephen Curry said.
"It's just coming down to doing what we discuss, what we write on that board before every game," center Andrew Bogut said. "We just haven't been doing it for the last . . . in my opinion, it's probably been 10 games. We just haven't had consistent effort.
"In this league, you can't play 24-minute games and win. You can get away with 30. In my opinion you need about 35 minutes of solid basketball."
The Warriors locker-room was white-hot with frustration and discontent, as it should be after their third loss in four games and ninth in the last 14. It’s the natural response when, considering this was yet another game in which the Warriors committed at least 20 turnovers – and seventh time in eight games they allowed at least 55 points in a half.
"We've been watching the same movie every night," Jackson said, "and it's getting old."
The Warriors once again fell behind early as the Suns made seven of their first 10 shots and torched the Warriors for 33 points in the first quarter, on 57 percent shooting. Phoenix scored 59 for the half and never trailed after the first quarter.
The Warriors eventually fought back with defensive surges and an 11-2 run late in the third quarter – after being blistered by assistant Pete Myers during a timeout. That shook them, at least temporarily, out of their stupor. They got back in the game, closing to 76-75 after a Curry 3-pointer with 2:54 left in the quarter.
"It's something we needed at that point – but shouldn't need," Green said.
But the Suns, who played more consistent defense throughout, were better on their possessions down the stretch. Channing Frye hit a pair damaging 3-pointers, the last putting Phoenix up 102-95 with 3:20 to play.
Over the next 2:17, the Warriors committed four turnovers to undermine any legitimate chance to win.
"We're constantly getting down by double digits, fighting back," Green said. "And we have to play fast for the entire 48 minutes, or we won't be the team we're capable of being."
Jackson, ever the spiritual optimist, still insists his belief is not shaken.
"We're going to be fine, but it's disappointing to lose once again in the same fashion we lost," he said. "We're going to get it right. But you have to call it what it is."
THE GOOD: The offensive work of Klay Thompson and Curry in the second half; they combined for 35 points, including 5-of-8 3-pointers, after halftime. Bogut continues to command the glass, grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds – his fifth consecutive double-digit rebounding game and 12th in the last 15.
THE BAD: The ghastly lapses on defense, with Curry and Lee frequent culprits. The ongoing struggle to protect the ball, with Curry (six) and Bogut (four) accounting for half of the turnovers. And Lee continues to struggle with formerly automatic open mid-range jumpers and finishing at the rim.
THE TAKE: The Warriors seem to realize that NBA games are not given but earned with skill, sweat and court intellect. Their considerable talent is offset by a lack of consistent focus and desire. If it's not one end of the court, it's the other. And one end too often affects the other. They miss Andre Iguodala in the worst way. But should they be sub-.500 without him? They wouldn't be if they played every minute as if it meant something.