As losses mount, frustrated Dubs have only themselves to blame Originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO — Another sad ending led to another Warriors loss Saturday and the good ship Dubs, barely afloat, are as rudderless and joyless as they have been at any time under the stewardship of Steve Kerr.
Frustrations are piling up, as they should. It’s a natural reaction for a defending champion unable to hold back the pain of defeat for more than a few days and Stephen Curry is unwilling to play savior.
What’s most galling about these lingering pangs of disappointment, most recently a 109-103 loss at the Chase Center, to a Los Angeles Lakers team sans LeBron James, is the Warriors’ inability to solve the problems they so deftly identify.
What could be more maddening than knowing what’s wrong, debating appropriate answers, and still not being able to fix it?
Except, maybe, the Warriors who believe they’re better than their 28-28 record because, hey, they’re seven months away from winning the NBA Finals.
“When you lose games and you’re .500, and you’re not a .500 losing team, it gets frustrating,” Draymond Green said after his 12 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and two steals went blank. “But no one will feel sorry for you. No one will feel sorry for us.
“It is what it is. You have to keep fighting, pull yourself out and find a way.
The Warriors have dug in all season yet remain in quicksand, close enough to see the path to the postseason but never able to walk, run, swim or crawl to it.
They address defensive shortcomings, play a solid stretch to that end, only to slip back into serial ineptitude.
They tackle the underlying issues of blown double-digit leads – the tally is up to nine, including two of their last three away games – only to relive them.
They face poor fundamentals that give opponents second-chance points, the lack of consistent competitive grit that results in possession of 50-50 balls, and lazy fouls that send opponents to the free throw line at the highest rate of any team in the NBA .
And, anyway, little or nothing changes for more than a game or two. Three at most.
“Our guys are frustrated,” Kerr said. “We’ve had so many close losses and are right in front of breaking the All-Star. I think our guys like everyone in the league, they need a break.
“But they are frustrated that we haven’t been able to close out these last two games and haven’t been able to string together enough wins to build some momentum and some separation in the table.”
The Warriors fell to ninth in the Western Conference, which at the end of the season would have sent them to the play-in tournament needing two wins to clinch the eighth and final playoff berth.
With 24 games remaining in the regular season, Golden State is 10.5 games behind the first-place Denver Nuggets, two behind the fourth-place Dallas Mavericks, and just 1.5 behind the sixth-place LA Clippers. The goal of landing the No. 6 seed – and avoiding the play-in – seemed much more realistic a couple of weeks ago.
The Warriors are 2.5 games ahead of the Lakers, but it will be tough to hold that lead given the improvements they’ve made to the LA roster over the past three weeks. These changes, as well as the spirited game certainly played a part in Saturday’s result. The Warriors were minus-9 in rebounding and minus-7 in second chance points.
“When you’re down guys,” Green said, referring to the sidelined Curry, “you need to get 50/50 balls. You have to make those plays. We didn’t do a good job of that.
The Lakers shut down the Warriors by limiting them to 33.3% shooting in the fourth quarter. Golden State’s starting five played a total of 32 minutes in the quarter and scored 17 points, all by Jordan Poole.
Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins, the goalscorers no. 2 and no.
“Our guys are definitely frustrated,” Kerr said. “But we will go on. We just have to keep fighting, keep competing and we’ll see. where it all goes.”
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If Kerr sounds like a coach with no answers, it’s not because the answers are unknown. It is that they have not been absorbed and have become a habit.
Until they do, this season is bound to have as many moments of misery as it is rewards.