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Warriors Trying to Combat Slow Starts

Warriors head coach Keith Smart said he operates under an assumption that every player is already up to play. He hasn’t spent time trying to get guys ready because he is of the mind that the excitement and energy of getting ready to play an NBA game is enough to get his players going.

But after the Warriors struggled again to get off to a good start, he sounded open to changing that mindset. He may even use some of his halftime speeches, which seem to work so well, in his pregame talk.

SMART: “I always assume that any man alive loves to get ready for a game. I wouldn’t think you need it to start a game. Maybe I have to try that and see what happens. There’s no adjustments you can make to start the game. You’ve got to wait until the game takes place.”

The Warriors have scored 20 points or fewer in the first five times. They have given up at least 30 in the first quarter five times. They have trailed entering the second quarter five times, three of those times they ended up down double-digits at the half and went on to lose.

For one, Monta Ellis doesn’t like it. He said he would study to film and see what’s up. He’s drawn a conclusion.

ELLIS: “I don’t think we’re tuned into the game. I think we have to really be down or coach has to get into us before we reallyu start playing., so what we’ve got to do is we’ve got to approach the game now like we’re down 20 when its 0-0 so we can come out with the same defensive mentality and the same energy we get in the third and fourth quarter.”

Smart pointed out that when the Warriors are going well, it’s usually because they are in attack mode from the beginning. He said a lot of that has to do with his point guard, Stephen Curry. Curry was aggressive against the Knicks, he just missed a lot of shots early.

When the Warriors don’t make shots early, it usually doesn’t bode well from their rhythm and they end up relying on Ellis. Of course, the end result is Ellis being tired at the end of the game from having to carry the Warriors the first three quarters.

On defense, Smart said they need to be more aggressive as well.

SMART: “The games we didn’t start off well, we were really passive on our heels on both sides of the ball. Other games, like against Detroit, we started off very, very fast, and that starts with our pg. Steph came in the game pushing the ball real fast being an aggressive player, being for himself or a pass for a teammate. We were kind of on our heels last night we weren’t aggressive tryinhg to make plays to start the game. Monta made plays, but we weren’t aggressive as an overall unit. So we’ve got to get everybody firing the same cylinders to start games off.”

Marcus Thompson