Victor Oladipo wasn’t playing for the Pacers, but it didn’t matter. Golden State lost the last game of their homestand to the Pacers in a frustrating defensive struggle, 104-95.
The Pacers threw the box-and-1 defense at Stephen Curry and the Warriors, and slowed the game down to their preferred pace (pun not intended, sorry) for most of the contest. The Dubs’ role players stepped up, however, and Golden State had the lead for much of the game. Eventually, Indiana took control.
And this from Drew Shiller, Monte Poole’s colleague at NBC Sports Bay Area.
It was Mychal Mulder’s only 3-pointer made, and the Warriors hit 13 overall, with Damion Lee, Mulder’s fellow reserve, making two 3’s. Andrew Wiggins made four, and Steph Curry and Kelly Oubre each made three. He doesn’t shoot many 3’s, but Golden State missed Eric Paschall’s scoring. He’s been on fire lately, but he missed the game due to Covid-19 protocols. He really could have helped against that box-and-1.
Curry finished with 20 points in 36 tough minutes. He made 7 of 17 shots and 3 of 8 from distance. Wiseman had just eight points in 26 minutes, though he had nine rebounds and helped the overall defensive effort.
Speaking of defense. Draymond Green had a great game on that end. Look at him scare the Pacers into blowing a 3 on 1 break. This was when it appeared the Warriors might even cruise to victory.
That was wild. It must be said, however, that Green was awful when he was in a position to score a field goal, most notably when he tried to dunk but only hit the rim. He hit the rim hard, too. I hope his arm is okay. But, he had 10 assists and six rebounds.
Okay, back to defense. Here’s Wiseman making his presence felt, too, just like his mentor on that end of the floor, Green.
As you can see, the score is in the Warriors’ favor and times were good for Golden State at that moment. Oubre even broke out of his slump, and Wiggins led the Warriors in scoring with 22. Each wing contributed to the defense, especially Wiggins, who was incredible at times and set a career high with five blocks.
In the end, the Warriors let this one get away. The really missed Paschall, and have to beat teams when they run the box-and-1 defense. Green has to learn to score a bucket here and there. He looks lost way too often when his eyes should actually be lighting up because he’s in such great position to hit a field goal.
Postgame, Kerr said, “If you play a box and 1, it’s 3 on 2 all day. If you get organized and get sharp then there’s gong to be great shots.” Alright, sounds doable. And that’s good because the Warriors will keep seeing that defense until they defeat it regularly.
But give the Pacers credit. They’re a good club. And this was the back end of a back-to-back for them, even. Here’s the tally on the homestand, courtesy of John Dickinson of 95.7 The Game.
That’s a rough upcoming slate. That’s why The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson gets the last word on this loss, echoing my sentiments from before.
(Photo credit John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports)