Game story for tomorrow’s paper
TORONTO– Sunday’s performance by the Warriors was especially offensive – just not in the manner they needed.
No doubt, many were offended by Golden State’s abysmal offense in an 83-75 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Including some in the Warriors’ locker room.
“This one hurts,” rookie swingman Klay Thompson said. “This was a winnable game. … We’re better than them.”
The Warriors (14-20), set a season-low for points and shot just 36.3 percent from the field, including 4 of 19 from 3-point range. They totaled 28 points in the second half.
Certainly, the Raptors are no pushover defensively. They came into the game ranked ninth in field goal percentage defense (43.2) and 11th in points allowed (94.1). Still, totaling 75 points is anemic for the Warriors even without starting point guard Stephen Curry (sprained right foot), who missed his fourth consecutive game.
As a result, Golden State squandered its chance for a winning record on the road trip. They get a chance at redemption tonight at Washington, another Eastern Conference bottom-feeder. But at this point, they’ll just be trying to save face.
“We needed to be at least 3-2 on this road trip,” forward David Lee said after totaling 22 points and 12 rebounds.
It seemed Golden State had found a rhythm in the second quarter. They made 10 of 18 shots in the period, turning a two-point lead at the end of the first quarter into a 47-38 halftime advantage. Lee had eight points in the quarter and the bench – specifically guard Nate Robinson, Brandon Rush and Klay Thompson – chipped in 16 points in the second quarter.
After back-to-back baskets by Ellis, a 3-pointer and a turn-around jumper, Golden State held its largest lead of the game, 52-42 with 9:26 left in the third. But the Warriors managed just six points the rest of the quarter. They missed their next seven shots and over the last 9:26 missed 14 of 17 and turned the ball over four times.
Golden State totaled 11 points in the third quarter, getting doubled-up by Toronto. Over their last four games, the Warriors have been outscored 103-61 in the third quarter, an average of 10.5 per game.
Ellis sounded at his wit’s end diagnosing the third-quarter concerns.
“Who knows,” said Ellis, his head buried and his voice just above a whisper. “Don’t know what to tell you. We had a 10-point lead and we came out and … I don’t know.”
For the road trip, Golden State is averaging 80.3 points on 37.9 percent shooting. Even if they were the best team in the league, they’d still lose with those offensive numbers.
The Warriors played defense well enough to win Sunday, which would have made them 2-2 on the trip heading to Washington. Golden State held the Raptors to 85 points on 37.2 percent shooting with 16 turnovers. Toronto never scored more than 23 points in a quarter.
“That’s good,” Second-year big man Ekpe Udoh said of the defensive result. “Don’t you think?”
So that means this one’s on the offense?
“We didn’t make shots,” Udoh responded.
Lee did, making 9 of 13 from the field. But the rest of the Warriors were 20 of 67 shooting (29.9 percent). Ellis needed 22 shots to get 20 points. Forward Dorell Wright was 1 of 9. Robinson was 2 of 12, missing all seven of his second-half attempts. Udoh was 2 of 7.
For a team that likes to brag about how many scorers it has, you would think topping 85 would be a cake walk. But Sunday, they lost because they couldn’t score.
“Period,” Robinson said. “Point blank. Exclamation point.”
* With Sunday’s 4 for 19 shooting performance from 3-point range, Golden State is now 13 for 71 from deep for the road trip (18.3 percent).
Perhaps even worse than the Warriors’ low percentage is the that they’ve taken so many. An average of 17.75 3-pointers is a lot for any team. But for a team that can’t find the stroke, why so many 3-pointers?
The 3-point shooting numbers are a sign Golden State is settling too much for the outside shot – a bad idea for a team struggling shooting. The Warriors took 80 shots on Sunday, 48 came from outside the paint. (Conversely, 40 of Toronto’s 78 shots came inside the paint).Golden State had just one fast-break point.
“For whatever reason, we’re not shooing the ball well,” Lee said. “We’re setting for a lot of jumpers, myself included. … It’s not a situation where you can say, ‘guys stop shooting’ because we’ve got great shooters getting good looks. Guys just have to put in extra work.”
*Golden State’s 28 second-half points was four more than the franchise record for fewest points in a half. The Warriors managed just 24 in the second half against visiting Minnesotaon April 9, 2004.
* Warriors coach Mark Jackson, at the last minute, put Udoh in the starting lineup, sitting center Andris Biedrins.
It was the first time in theJacksonera that Biedrins was healthy but not the starter. He played a season-low six minutes off the bench, going scoreless with a rebound and two fouls.
Sunday, Udoh – who had 19 points, eight rebounds and two blocks his last start, Feb. 20 vs. the Los Angeles Clippers – didn’t do much better Sunday.
Udoh totaled seven points, three rebounds and a block in 31 minutes.