The Warriors gave up a 24 point lead in an overtime loss Friday night loss at home versus the Grizzlies. A game where the Warriors were cruising for the first 3 quarters. The ball movement was amazing, the defense was spectacular, and the shots were falling. It was during the 4th quarter when everything fell apart. The Grizzlies turned it up a notch and the Warriors just fell asleep and didn’t execute the way they were earlier in the game. The offense became stagnant and the defense was nowhere to be found.
Offensively in the 4th quarter a lot of the possessions were either isolation plays or settling for contested jump shots. A lot of players standing around watching the guy with the ball. It was evident late in the 4th quarter when the Warriors were up 2 points with seconds left and Kevin Durant had the ball. Instead of Durant running a play that involved some ball movement he opted for an isolation play that resulted in him taking a jump shot over Zach Randolph with 8 seconds left on the shot clock. During the time out you can see Draymond Green and Kevin Durant having a HEALTHY discussion.
KD should have done 1 of these 2 plays: call for a pick and roll with Curry or Green. This would have put pressure on the Grizzlies defense forcing them to either double team the ball handler or forcing the defense rotate to the player rolling to the basket leading to an open man taking a shot. Also KD should have at least ran some more clock before initiating the play. Now if KD decided to run an isolation he needs to realize who’s defending him. In this play it was Zach Randolph, who isn’t the quickest or best defenders in the league. KD could have easily gone right by him with a dribble penetration for a basket or if the defense rotated he would have had an open shooter. Once again he should have initiated the play with 8 seconds left instead of taking the shot with that much time left.
Going back to the HEALTHY discussion Green was having Durant, some view it as a “heated argument” or “sign of disrespect” well I see it as a passionate healthy discussion. If you watch the video there’s no disagreement between the 2 players. You see KD nodding his head and agreeing with Green and you even see at the end of the conversation they give each other five. Could he have handled it in a better manner? No, I think this was handled correctly. Green is a passionate guy and he wears his emotions on his sleeve. He’s the type of player that will let you know how it is. These 2 have a lot of respect for each other and it would have been worse if Green didn’t tell him anything and let it build up which could result in a problem down the road. I like how it was handled in the moment.
When the Warriors signed KD this past off-season we didn’t know the transition would turn out this good early on, but they still have a lot of work to do and they know it’s not going to be easy. It’s not like they’re taking 3-4 good players and fitting them in their system. KD is one of the top players in the league and he’s joining a team full of players that have been here and have succeeded.
Do they have problems? Yes, all teams have problems. In their case these problems are good to have now so they can be better down the road. One problem I think they have is that they over pass. These guys are so unselfish that they make an extra pass from an extra pass. Meaning they should already have scored from the one extra pass, but instead they pass it again. Majority of the time this leads to a turnover or a missed opportunity on an easy shot. Another problem they have is that they play really loose, but again this is why they are so good. Coach Kerr allows them to play freely and that gives them the confidence to perform better. I’m fine with that style of play, but I wish they would tighten up the execution. An example would an unnecessary behind the back pass in the key by Curry. Was it flashy? Yes. Could a simple bounce pass resulted in the same outcome? Yes. I love flashy plays just like any fan of the game, but only if executed at the right time. Too much flashy plays lead to turnovers which equals up to empty possessions and opportunities for the opposing team to score.
Will they learn? Yes, I believe so. The players on this team are too smart and too good not to. They’re aware as individuals they are pretty good, but as a team they’re great.