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Revisiting Game 4: Warriors Get “Outworked” by Sacramento

Any win the Warriors can manage during this rough stretch of the schedule, and while their starting center is less than 100 percent, figures to go a long way. And, in the grand scheme of things, splitting the first four games can be considered a relatively good start, especially since three were on the road.

Still, 3-1 would’ve looked so much better than 2-2. And the fact that Golden State had it in their claws, before falling 94-92 at Sacramento, only makes Monday’s loss that much more irritating in the locker room.

Golden State has been fashioning itself as a blue-collar team. They want to win with defense, rebounding, toughness. They want to be known for aggressiveness, resilience. They showed some of that down the stretch, fighting back from a 16-point third quarter deficit. But the loss didn’t sit well because they didn’t do enough it.

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MARK JACKSON: “They outworked us early on. That’s what it boiled down to. They were the hardest working team on the floor. The good thing is that we realized when we do put forth the effort and we execute, we climbed back into the ballgame. So imagine if we put together 48 minutes of that.”

Certainly, Sacramento was pumped. They’d lost their first three on the road. They were in their home opener. They were playing a local rival. But the Warriors lost to a team they believe they’re better than.

Perhaps the feeling they were better than the Kings was the problem. Perhaps.

JARRETT JACK: “I think our attention needs to be as high as it can be, no matter who we’re playing. It can kind of be one of those things where you’re playing the Clippers and they have certain guys on their team that obviously you’re going to get jacked when you play against them. This team (Sacramento) doesn’t have that same type of mystique.  Not saying that’s what happened, but you could see just the lull we kind of had to start off the game and it kind of continued until about the third or fourth quarter.”

More on the Monday’s defeat …

MVP: Klay Thompson. He didn’t shoot it great, and he missed the game-winner. But it was an all-around solid game in what was otherwise a rough night for the Warriors.

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He had 22 points on 7-for-17 shooting with a team-high 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

JACKSON: “He’s a legit shooting guard that can do a lot of things on the floor. A knockdown shooter. He’s improved immensely on the defensive end. … He’s chasing down being great, and the results will come.”

Perhaps most important, in the long run, is Thompson got some much-needed experience at finishing.

JACKSON: “One thing about him, he’s not afraid. You hold your head up and you look forward to the next one. I think what you learn is to realize that we’ve got another one and he’s going to get an opportunity.”

MDP: Stephen Curry

They said it was a rarity after he went 2-for-14 in the opener. Well, Curry had another rough shooting night, his second in four games. He was 3-for-15 from the field for 12 points Monday against Sacramento. He missed his first eight shots and never really found a rhythm.

To be sure, he did other things. He had 8 assists, 6 rebounds and a steal. He committed just 3 turnovers in 39 minutes. Still, 3-for-15 is a disappointing night.

JACKSON: “Very happy with his looks. Even more so pleased that he did the other things. He rebounded the basketball. He ran the team. The shots I’m not worried about. They’ll fall.”

KEY MOMENT I: The Warriors had tied the game at 56, thanks to a Curry 3-pointer. But the Kings big men, specifically DeMarcus Cousins, started to dominate, and it led to a 16-0 run.

Cousins’ pressure defense forced Ezeli into bricking a 14-footer, and Cousins gobbled up the rebound. On the other end of the floor, he putback an Isaiah Thomas miss and was fouled by Festus Ezeli. The Kings were up 14.

On the Warriors next possession, Carl Landry rebounded Draymond Green’s layup and tried to power it in. But Cousins blocked it. On the other end, Cousins nailed an open 16-footer, putting the Kings up 72-56.

YEAH, WHAT HE SAID: “For a second I thought it was in, but it hit back rim. It was really disappointing. It’s going to be a long bus ride back. It’s going to be a long night. And you can bet I’m going to think about that for a long time. But we’ve got a game Wednesday. I guarantee I will be in that position before the year ends so I’m not going to dwell on it that long. But it definitely hurts.” – Klay Thompson

Xs AND Os: With 10.9 seconds left, the Warriors did something they used to never do — went to a set that had been working and milked it for a good shot.

Down one, Curry got the ball at the top, dumped it down to Bogut. He had a rough go for a second, stumbling and nearly falling, but he kept his dribble long enough to regather and hit Klay, who had curled off a couple of screens. Klay caught it in stride, rose up and got a good look at the rim.

Thompson missed the shot, but the impressive part was that the Warriors had a play, and they executed it. Before, the Warriors’ need-a-bucket offense was clearing it out for Monta Ellis at the top. This was a good call that led to a good shot, about as high percentage as you can get outside the paint.

Speaking of high-percentage shots, how is it Carl Landry only took four shots?

Jackson went away from his prized horse on Monday. Landry averaged 20 points on 65.7 percent shooting the first three games. But against the Kings, he played just shy of 20 minutes and barely touched the ball.

What’s more, Landry came into the game tied for third in the league with 28 fourth-quarter points. Monday, he played just five minutes in the fourth quarter, making his only shot and knocking down a pair of free throws.

Why did Jackson go away from Landry? No. 1, he played center Andrew Bogut the final seven minutes. Instead of putting Bogut with Landry, Jackson paired Lee and Bogut.

Also, the Kings made it hard for Landry. They converge on the paint well and suffocate you with their size. Landry, who can usually get free with a couple moves, was finding it hard to get an opening.

It would stand to reason that Landry would be in there for the final play. But it was clear the play called for a pass out of the low post, and Bogut is the best passing big man the Warriors have. Since Lee is a better high-post player than Landry, it made since to have Lee in the game and not Landry.

However, you could argue that Jackson should have gone to Landry, who can either get a bucket or draw a foul. But Jackson went with what was working. This night, Landry didn’t have it working so well.

Landry wasn’t the only one Jackson went away from. Jarrett Jack played just 18 minutes and sat the final minutes of the game. Jackson chucked the three-guard lineup that has worked so well to date, and went with the starters at the end.

SERIOUSLY?: Four times Monday night, a black tarp fell from the video board and onto the court. One time, coach Keith Smart hustled onto the court, grabbed the tarp and hustled off. He was like one of those runners in tennis. The last time, in the fourth quarter, Kings guard Aaron Brooks removed it.

The crowd started chanting “New A-Re-Na.”

Which was the most irritating: that these tarps kept falling from above onto the court or that not one time did it fall during play? Assuming it was flimsy plastic as it looked, and of course no one would get hurt, how classic would it have been if one had fallen on a player? Imagine Jarrett Jack’s reaction if he was dribbling up court and was suddenly engulfed by a Glad trash bag.

KEY MOMENT II: With four minutes left, the Warriors were running out of time to make a run. They had the lead down to 8 with 3:07 left and needed a big play to really put a scare in the Kings.

David Lee knocked away Kings PG Aaron Brooks’ entry pass, leading to a Warriors break. Curry, cut off by Brooks at the other end, slowed it up a little and headed back out to the top. As the rest of the players charged towards him, it looked as if he was going to pass on the transition opportunity and run another play. But when he turned to face the basket and saw no one was on him, he pulled up the 3-pointer. Considering he was struggling so mightily with his shot, coach Mark Jackson was probably screaming “Nooooo” when Curry took it. But he drilled it, cutting the Kings’ lead to 89-84 and prompting Kings coach Keith Smart to call a timeout.

Curry walked back to the bench shaking his head, as if to say “finally.” That 3-pointer actually put it in the Kings head they could lose, and solidified the Warriors belief they could win it.

BEFORE YOU GO: Rookie forward Harrison Barnes logged 30 minutes Monday. He took eight shots, making 3, and finished with six points. Two of his made baskets were dunks. But his most impressive stat: 4 assists.

Barnes is making progress, however gradual. But one thing he must do better is rebound. Two rebounds in 30 minutes is not the business.

Marcus Thompson

  • Wil

    I’m a staunch Mark Jackson’s supporter, but his honeymoon is wearing out on me a little bit, two of the games we lost, he has been outplayed by the opposite coach, Not playing Landry and Jack enough minutes was a big mistake. During that stretch that Cousins was having his way and the Kings were on a 16-0 run, he should have called a time out or something, but I noticed there were stretches where we were playing so bad, Curry missing shots, Thompson missing shots, Lee was kind of clumpsy and he let them keep sinking too much. Mark Jackson better start stepping it up and be smart about his player selection, because he needs to start taking advantage of match ups. He should’ve put in Landry with Bogut instead of Lee more often. Starting to irritate me, that’s a game we should’ve had. That lost was on him.

  • bgub

    Warriors are going to suffer 4 more years with that stupid contract. When Curry played behind Monte, he felt much more comfortable. No he needs to lead the team, but he can’t, just can’t. He is the only PG in this league that plays of the ball. It doesn’t sound like a winning recipe to me.

  • Don

    Production at PG and SF are killing this team….fail

  • Dubfan

    The offense is a little scattered right now…but, consider: they shot only 40% last night and Curry was inarguably awful (for the 2nd time in 4 games shooting the ball), BUT, he had 8 assists and 6 rebounds. For the first time in 4 games, they got little from Carl Landry, Bogut still cannot play more than 20 minutes, and they could have won if Klay makes that jump shot. The offense will come around…even without Rush, no doubt a big loss, there is a lot of offensive firepower here. The defense has been much better in the early going. Barnes is showing aggressiveness, not a tepid rookie (remember Marco Bellynelli (sic)?) His shot will come around. Klay could not hit the broad side of a barn for the first 1/3 of the season last year, but Barnes, like Klay is a very good shooter (not as good as Klay, but still very good). He will relax and come around.

    Curry, while he has had 2 bad games shooting out of 4, will not likely do this very often…his shot is too pure. Lee’s offense too will come around. Festus is the bestus backup center in the league right now. The only time Beidrin’s (or Jeremy Tyler) will, or should see the court is because of injury. There is a lot to be hopeful about, although, admittedly there are also signs of the same old Warriors to a certain degree too. But there is hope.

    And lastly, I was SO GLAD last night, even though Klay did not drain that shot, there was no Monte to go to, for a 10 second isolation dribble, everyone else standing around and hoping that the one last shot would go in. They ran a play, and ran it well, and he just did not drop it in. Sometime in the future, it will, or Curry’s will, or Lee’s will…but at least it is not always the Monte finish of old.

  • bill

    wil is right but doesn’t state it strongly enough…Jackson is full of cliches statements and Smart thoroughly outcoached him Monday…..OUTCOACHED him…..his substitution pattern is weak, his long leash on 3 point shooting is too long….he lets the other team dominate the match-ups….yeah the honeymoon is over and divorce on the horizon…..
    long career, nice guy, doesn’t cuss…can’t much coach and still visibly leaning on Mike Malone for strategy

  • daniel

    maybe I am blind or something, can smart people explain to me what they see in Curry? What do people see that I don’t see?

    Curry is not a PG. Curry is an undersized SG w/ decent ball handling skills. Handles? He does not have them.

    Plus Curry is a terrible/lazy defender. Jimmer , for pete’s sake, scored on him 2 or 3 times and you can bet that Keith Smart instructed Jimmer to go at Curry when he got in.

    If Curry is your designated franchise player. the W’s will fail.

  • Young

    Daniel,

    Curry had a bad night. We know he’s not a point. Jack has removed all doubts there. But curry is a legit scorer. Something is off to start this season. Give it a month and check back in, Curry hasnt really played in 2 years.

    What he brings is a lighting quick release, dead eye shot, and ++ ball handling and passing POTENTIAL (he doesn’t do it night in and night out, sorry)

    I agree, 6’3 scoring guards arent very valuable (although $44 mil is OK contract)… I preferred Lillard from the gate, but its too late now…

  • Niners in 2012

    Doesn’t Curry start out slow every year now? I think when his shot comes around he’ll be fine, he is not gonna shoot 35% all year, c’mon. He’s struggling, no doubt. Coach needs to recognize this, there’s no way he should be playing 39 mpg, Jenkins could provide a nice spark. You’ll never know unless you try.

  • supernashwan

    The problem with Curry at the moment is he is taking at least 4 or 5 forced transition jumpers that he misses. His game might be off, maybe he could hit a couple more, but the problem is that the rest of the Warriors are running with him and he isn’t rewarding them.
    Also Lee and Landry shouldn’t be on the floor together, from what I have seen they are terrible defensively when playing together, both have similar needs from an offense perspective (18 footer or block) so the spacing on offense often becomes crowded or confusing. I agree they should go with Jenkins for a spark once in a while. Maybe try Barnes at the two spot every now and then and put him on the block/wing for an iso every now and then, we all know from college he is good at dominating smaller wing players.

  • Ron

    Eliminate the careless turnovers and the Dubs win that game. One thing if the other team makes a good play to cause a turnover but there were several lazy passes that led to turnovers and easy Kings baskets.

  • Stan

    Klay had an easy open jumper..and Monta like, he clunked it.
    He’s paid millions..no excuse to miss what he makes in practice 11 times out of ten.

    Curry? He needed to bulk up in the off season..and didn’t.

    I had high hopes for him..but he’s not aggressive..the ankle? maybe.

    Darned disappointing in the Strassbogut. Every other day ,part time. Sounds more like he needs to play more,get in shape…then rest. How I would do it.

  • Stan

    Bogut wants to get in shape to play for half a game? Big deal.