The Warriors didn’t party like it was 1999 on Friday night, they played like it was 1999.
Golden State looked like a bottom-dwelling team on the road to nowhere in its 124-108 loss to Atlanta, devoid of effort that’s become customary in the Steve Kerr era. The effects were especially disastrous on defense, with the Hawks shooting 55 percent for the game after making field goals at a 60-percent-plus clip much of the evening.
Kerr was without superstar guard Stephen Curry (though forward Draymond Green returned from a one-game absence), so the loss wasn’t a shock. But they way Golden State played was surprising. The team had a similar performance one night earlier, but with Green back, things figured to be different.
Instead, Curry had to muster some inspiration post game, per center Kevon Looney, by way of ESPN’s Nick Friedell.
I hope the advice helps. I have my doubts that it will, unfortunately. Something weird is happening with the team. The effort was incredibly porous, and I don’t think the issue can be handled individually. The squad has a couple of days off to figure it out together.
Guard Nico Mannion had this to say, which I was honestly surprised to hear.
“I think we’re falling into a little hole of just not competing,” guard Nico Mannion said. “We can’t do that. I need to do better. We as a group need to be better at just locking in mentally.”San Francisco Chronicle
Not competing? Incredibly, that’s exactly what it looked like on Friday. Way too reminiscent of terrible teams from decade’s past.
Plus, it the team keep playing this poorly, it will create it’s own mini era of terrible basketball, as it adds to the 15-50 record last season that was supposed to be a bump in the road for Kerr’s bunch.
A lot of this falls on Green. He displayed last season that he wilts a bit when the stakes aren’t high. He must have thought that was the case on Friday. He didn’t attempt a single field goal in 28 minutes, had four turnovers and just two rebounds. Though he did tally nine assists. He may have still been feeling ill, however. But he played a lot of minutes, and when you’re on the floor, you’ve simply got to perform.
Curry’s bruised tailbone won’t be healthy before the Warriors face the Bulls on Monday, so Kerr has his work cut out for him. While losing might improve Golden State’s draft stock, playing this poorly could gut the team internally. This isn’t last season, when Curry was out and Green was battling injuries and seemingly waiting for Curry to return. This is a campaign with expectations and a peak Curry, despite his minor injury setback.
Look in the mirror, figure it out. Come back to the team environment and implement those changes by competing. Otherwise, this will be a long, unentertaining end to a season that’s been a lot of fun for the most part.