The Warriors’ best attribute as a team is their ability to, in a moment’s notice, go crazy and run off a bunch of points. They have the kind of offensive firepower that other teams are just flat-out scared of.
Luke Ridnour: “Even when you’re up 10, that’s like being up 2 with these guys because they make so many runs.”
At any moment, Baron can take over the game. At any moment, Jackson or Harrington can get hot. At any moment, Monta can do something jaw-dropping (I get the feeling Brandan Wright will fall into this category pretty soon) It is pretty captivating. It’s even better than having a team with one huge star, like a Kobe or a LeBron. Having so many guys who can make it happen, instead of it riding on one guy, not only makes a big spurt more likely but more dramatic.
The way they started last night’s game, you just knew it was coming. At one point, they were 3-for-15 from behind the arc and were shooting close to 40 percent. It was practically inevitable that some threes would start falling, the offense would start to click. P.J. Carlesimo considered it inevitable. He wasn’t even wowed, but a little disappointed his players were,
PJ: “We got deflated. It took us too long to dig our heels in and we really broke our backs. … It’s what they do. You can’t say it was an accident when you turn the ball over because they’re one of the best in the league at that. You can’t say it was an accident when they score points off those turnovers because they are the best in the league at at that.”
But it seems to also be their worst attribute. The knowledge that they can, all of a sudden, flip that switch and run off 10 straight or so, seems to be working against them. They just don’t seem to be up for some games, specifically the games against lesser opponents.
It’s most evidence on defense, when some lesser-known player is posting a career night, or some team that has struggled scoring all season is shooting better than 50 percent at the half. Tuesday night, largely because of Seattle’s ineptitude, they didn’t get burned. But they have been (see: Minnesota, Chicago), and they almost assuredly will get burned again.
But that leads me to the main question. Is it reasonable to ask the Warriors to play at that level all the time? Are they really underachieving, taking it easy, as it looks?
Because they have a bunch of streaky shooters, niche players and really good players with exploitable weaknesses, maybe they can only operate in spurts – depending on who they’re playing, the match-ups, etc. Maybe the don’t have anyone good enough (Other than Baron. I’m not letting him off the hook. He’s good enough to play at the same level every night, he just doesn’t) to play at a high level consistently and need opportune situations to thrive.
Can Monta do what he’s doing once teams start bring a help defender, and forcing him to his left, as Utah did in the playoffs? Jackson is at his best when his 3-pointer is falling because it opens up his drive. But he’s a streaky 3-point shooter, so can he really be expected to be anything other than streaky? Can Al Harrington be a consistent scorer when the opponent takes away his open 3-point looks, forcing him to drive and create shots on his own?
The reality is, maybe the Warriors have to live on their spurtability. Maybe their success is determined by who’s hot, what the match-up is and the momentum. I was convinced that they are a great team who plays down to the competition and sometimes lacks intensity. Now I’m thinking they might not be great, but really good and great when all things are clicking.
If the latter is true, then this roster needs major changes. You can’t win in the West on banking on spurtability.