Game 27 Rewind: It’s not a disaster yet, but Warriors are flirting with it

We’re going to be fine.

It’s been one of Mark Jackson’s stock lines after a series of throwaway losses this year, but he didn’t utter it after Thursday night’s mortifying 104-102 loss to a shell of the San Antonio Spurs at Oracle. Maybe even Jackson, ever the faithful optimist about his team, has some doubt creeping in about whether this bunch has the goods to right its foundering ship, or whether he has the coaching wherewithal to deliver tangible solutions to the myriad problems.

We’re virtually a third of the way through the 82-game season. The Warriors are 14-13. They have two — count ’em — wins against teams with a winning record. They stand as one of the biggest disappointments in the league to this point, even considering their tough schedule. Lose four or five win-able games and that’s the different between 18-9 and 14-13. With the Spurs’ big three — Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili — all out, losing to the leftovers is humbling and perhaps telling. As Andrew Bogut said afterward, “We can’t lose this game at home .. period.” But they did.

So the Warriors are going to be fine? When? They’re 3 1/2 games out of the fifth spot in the Western Conference standings and the gap is widening. They as close to 12th in the conference standings as they are to eighth. So nobody can say with any degree of assurance right now that they are going to be fine.

There are no mysteries about why the Warriors are treading water. For the most part, it’s them. Their penchant for turning the ball over is killing them — 24 in this game that resulted in 31 San Antonio points. The defense has been average at best — the Spurs’ backups to the backups scored 35 in the second quarter of this game. Horrible. Klay Thompson, who came out of training camp as the team’s best two-way player, hasn’t been playing very well either way for the better part of a month. Harrison Barnes, such a stud in the playoffs last year, has been mostly dud in many of the Warriors’ losses. On this night, he played nearly 20 minutes and didn’t score a single point. How is that possible? Barnes only took three shots, two of them clanked 3-pointers.

Jarrett Jack anyone? Last year, Jack saved a lot of games like the one that transpired on this night. He was more often than not at the ready when Thompson or Barnes went cold, or even Stephen Curry. But the Warriors simply don’t have a bench savior this year, and that’s killing them, too. Toney Douglas hasn’t remotely looked like the answer for Jack’s loss so far. With Thompson going so bad against the Spurs, Jackson had to turn to Kent Bazemore out of desperation. Bazemore actually had some of his better minutes of his Warriors career in the third quarter, but let’s face it, he’s not going to be a guy who turns the tide. The main guys have to do it. In the San Antonio-Golden State bench battle, the Warriors were outscored 41-13. Marco Belinelli had more than double the points as the Warriors entire bench combined with 28.

Curry, who spent several minutes after the game sitting at his locker staring off into space, has to be wondering what he has to do at this point. He’s had his own deficiencies with turnovers, but at least he’s compensating. He put the team on his back in the fourth quarter and nearly pulled out the game by himself, scoring 30 points with 15 assists. He’s averaging nearly 30 points over his last 12 games yet the Warriors are 5-7.

Other players have to get it going. David Lee, the favorite whipping boy of many fans, has the past two games. He had 32 points and 13 rebounds against the Spurs. Bogut has been tremendous on the boards. He had 18 in this game, but other than the lob dunks, they continue to ignore him on offense. They didn’t run a single play for him in this game, not one. The man must be more a part of the offense to open up the perimeter.

The scary part is that while Andre Iguodala was down for 12 games, Curry, Lee, Bogut and Thompson have all been healthy for pretty much the entire year. Can the Warriors bank on that lasting?

We are going to be fine. Hollow prophecy right now.

Carl Steward

  • Howard Benner

    So I’ll put it out there first. Is it time to end the Mark Jackson experience? Does he have what it takes to motivate his team? Do the players have inflated egos & just think the opposition should lay down for them in the aftermath of the W’s playoff run of last season? How can a team that has had only about five good years in the last 20 act so petulantly? It’s just so hard to take.

    This team lacks toughness, discipline, order, leadership &, most importantly, accountability. This is even worse than the immaturity this team displays on a nightly basis. What should have been a blowout performance where “Pop” was called on the carpet for resting three of his best players (well, perhaps Parker sits this one out after his shin contusion the previous night) turns into another game for the pundits to second guess the W’s makeup. Will this team grow up this season or will this be the biggest disappointment of the 2013-14 NBA season?

  • Oscar

    Fire Jackson? Come on huge overreaction we are 27 games in coming off the most success the franchise has had in 25 years. I consider last year more sucessful than the “we believe” season. Its a disappointing start, but let’s get andre back 100% and hoprfully they’ll get the defensive intensity back from the beginning of the season. The turnovers and the bench are most concerning to me. Fetus coming back will be good to add to barnes and green, but Douglas and SPeights need to provide some consistent, quality minutes because I don’t think Meyers is going to make a deal that will have much impact. I like nedovic, but I think he is a year away from contributing the minutes they need behind Curry, should let him play more in the D-league.

  • William Ruggiero

    Let see if after this humiliating defeat Curry leaves his pedantic and arrogant attitude and start moving the ball without loosing it trusting on his colleagues … Could someone explain to me how to delete the stupid smile of Bazemore? he is so mediocre

  • David Barnes

    Agree on Bazemore but how does someone who describes Curry as “pedantic and arrogant (both wrong IMHO) misspell ‘losing’? Got a stupid smile on my face with that one.

  • Grey Warden

    Curry and Thompson: horrible defense. It seems as if every game, there’s an opposing guard(s) who score double/triple their normal average. Combine that with the “Splash Brothers'” unforced turnovers = recipe for disaster.

    This game should have been over before it even began. Popovich was willing to take the loss in order to rest his starters. Warriors started slacking off and paid the price for it. Most of the games recently have been with the Warriors trailing by the start of the 4th quarter, and then desperately trying to make a comeback. Elite teams can slack off for an entire half and easily pull off a win. Warriors players somehow think they are elite and try to do the same thing, except they lose for the most part.

    Not even close to being a championship contender. However, all this calling for Mark Jackson to be fired is a little ridiculous, IMO. People seem to forget that no free agents willingly (unless they were overpaid) wanted to come to the Warriors before Jackson came aboard. He is a big reason Iguodala wanted to join the team, Bogut and Curry signed extensions, and Dwight Howard was interested in the Warriors before signing with the Rockets.

  • Stan

    This team read the press clippings in the off season. I see no hustle,and a whole lot of school yard prayer shots. Turnovers are mainly unforced- the worst kind of all.
    And Bogut? So,6 points is the best he can do scoring?. I never see him even try to have a big game on offense. Like Andres light.
    The Klay-ups continue,the streaky shooting. How could they lose to the de spurred Spurs?. Embarrassing.

  • Stan

    Really,shouldn’t we be reading Bogut poured in 25 points and 18 rebounds at least once by now?

    The good NBA teams pass like MLB players doing a triple play. The Warriors? One guy dribbles,if he doesn’t find somebody wide open?..he shoots!..Open himself or not. Ridiculous.

  • StephsMouthGuard

    Bogut wouldn’t need to score if David Lee could attempt to guard his position. He talked about losing weight to be more athletic, yet he can’t stay in front and guard a fat Boris Diaw? David Lee seems like a nice guy and his teammates probably like him, but he needs to go if he can’t play average defense.

  • 808Oahu

    W’s need a guy like Dragic, Ginobili, or remember Sarunas M.
    Someone that can attack the basket aggressively for lay ups and to dish the ball off.
    I sure don’t want Curry with his past ankle problems doing it.

  • Grey Warden

    Bogut is a shell of his former self on the offensive side. Last I checked, Diaw only had 9 pts 3 rebounds. How many points and rebounds did Lee have? Lee wasn’t even in the game at the end where Splitter tipped in the shot FTW. Guess who failed at blocking out Splitter? Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut.

    How many points did the Warriors backcourt give up to Mills, Green, and Belinelli? Not only did the Warriors backcourt play no defense, they gave up plenty of unforced turnovers that led to easy fast breaks and buckets. And they were outscored. But hey, it’s all David Lee’s fault the Warriors lost again.

  • Twinkie defense

    People won’t like to hear it but Don Nelson would be killing it with this roster.

  • StephsMouthGuard

    You do know that stats do not tell the entire story, don’t you. Just because David Lee had 25 and 13 (or whatever his line was last night) doesn’t mean that he impacted the game in a large way. I’ll agree, Klay hasn’t been playing good as of late, but David Lee fans must’ve forgot that the team really went into another gear after he got hurt in the playoffs. Sure, they may not be better with a SF playing PF for a long stretch, but to substitute Lee with a PF that averages 12 and 9, but can defend and not force other players to make up for his inabilities on the defensive end would.

  • StephsMouthGuard

    Don Nelson got outcoached by George Karl 2 times in the final stretch when they missed the playoffs (48 win season).
    Mark Jackson (a long with his staff) beat George Karl in the playoffs when they were the underdog.

  • Twinkie defense

    Don Nelson’s froncourt was Alton Lister and Billy Owens. Mark Jackson has two All Stars in the frontcourt, and still they have only beaten two winning teams #FAIL

  • Twinkie defense

    And if you want to talk about underdogs, maybe you will remember the biggest playoff upset in NBA history?

  • Grey Warden

    Which PF may that be, since we don’t have another that can “average 12 and 9?” Where else would the scoring come from, other than the Splash Brothers? Iggy and Green can’t hit 3s unless they’re wide open. Bogut has limited to no offense, Speights chucks long 2s and misses often. Barnes disappears from games. O’Neal is injured. All teams have to do is double Curry/Thompson and it’s game over. Oh wait, that’s what happened in the finals seconds of last night’s game.

  • Grey Warden

    Every coach that’s face George Karl in the playoffs have beaten him at some point. That’s why he was fired.

  • StephsMouthGuard

    David Lee was a gift as an all star. He’s an ok offensive player, but can’t guard anyone. I’ll never understand why people love Don Nelson. He was a good coach, but the Mavs never went anywhere until he left. Warriors fans.. The same people that thought Monta Ellis and Jason Richardson were superstars…

  • jschacht

    I think few will admit it, but as fun as Curry can be to watch, he’s not without blame in this disappointing start. He’s a flat-out liability on defense each and every game. The increased assist #s are inflated when you add in the horrendous turnover ratio this year — mostly due to the mustard he slings on a good portion of those passes. And the shot selection, especially lately, has been far from ideal. Before the Curry-can-do-no-wrong-ers pile on, I’m not suggesting trading him, or firing Jackson or sending Lee somewhere for a back-up point guard with a reliable jumper or a low-post-presence 4. Just that, you know, we look at Curry’s game realistically and realize that, at least right now, it’s part of the problem. Quit turning the ball over. Make the right pass, not the pretty one. Take a step in and knock down a few mid-range J’s once and while rather than hoisting up every 3 that’s available. And for god’s sake, play as hard on defense as you do offense — good things will happen.

  • 808Oahu

    I just watched part of the half time report on ESPN.
    Doug Collins and crew said that the teams that are fighting for that last playoff position is:
    Minnesota, Houston, Dallas, and Golden State.
    And that the team that depends mostly on outside shots to win games will be the team that wont make the playoffs.

    Thats sure sounds like the Warriors or Houston.
    And I can’t see us beating Houston right now that for sure.

  • Prefer Privacy

    It’s the coaching. Bogut simply cannot defend outside of the paint, so opponents like SA use mobile Cs against him to set high picks. Result: Bellinelli scores 28 pts in 27 minutes. A good coach would correct the problem. Jackson leaves Bogut in, and blames his players for not trying hard enough.

    Thompson is a great shooter when open, so teams glue a defender to his jersey. A good coach – hell, an average coach – would run plays to free up Thompson. Jackson doesn’t.

    Douglas is a good scoring guard, but a weak PG. Good coaches would play to his strength. Jackson makes him play PG.

    The team needs a score with 2.1 sec left. Good coaches fill the floor with shooters. Jackson leaves Bogut in.

    It’s the coaching.

  • flaninerfan

    Doubtful. We need a J Sloan type coach or of course the real thing.

  • Howard Benner

    This has been brewing for some time. Jacksonspeak maintains “next man up” when Curry or Bogut or Igudola go down, but that man doesn’t exist. Jackson maintains this is a defensive team but they still don’t bring the required intensity, defend with their hands. I.E., grabbing & holding, & not with their feet; shuffling, paying attention to the “rules” all teams employ, exhibit poor spacing on both offense & defense, dribble the ball too much, don’t take advantage of their good passers, I.E., giving more touches (not necessarily shots, but opportunities to draw in the defense & dish to open shooters/slashers) to Bogut, continue their maddening propensity of turning the ball over, haven’t established a noticeable leadership hierarchy (can you tell me who the W’s leader is? Is it Steph Curry? Andrew Bogut? The new kid in town, Igudola? ).

    I realize it’s a “marathon & not a sprint,” but inferiorily talented teams like Phoenix & Portland bring a defensive approach each & every night, keeping them in games when their offense is non existent/augmenting their lack of talent. Terry Stotts is in his second year as Jailblazer coach & Jeff Hornacek is a first year NBA coach in the valley of the sun.

    Losing Malone definitely has effected the W’s but good teams keep to established principals & adept & overcome. . .the W’s have as of yet to display any semblance of resilency, toughness, maturity (the maddening tendency of “feeling sorry for themselves” in the face of adversity is so unprofessional is is sickening), accountability, on & on & on. . .it all starts @ the top. . .. . .. .. . .

  • rioderek

    2 All Stars in the front court ? Are you stupid ? Bogut is decent but far from an All Star. Conversely David Lee can’t guard anyone.

  • rioderek

    Anyone know when Jack is due back off the disabled list. Maybe the Dubs can trade to get him back. Or send Thompson and Douglas to Toronto for Lowry and DeRozen. The team needs a true PG who can handle, pass and penetrate. DeRozen can provide the same as Thompson and maybe better. He’s surely more consistent.

  • rioderek

    Swapping Lee for Pau or Boozer would be nice. The Warriors need a few guys who play in the paint and draw fouls vs. a team of all outside shooters. Heck even Speights wants to be a bomber, when in fact he would serve the team better inside..

  • Twinkie defense

    Both those guys have been All Stars. The point though is Mark Jackson has a better roster than Don Nelson ever had, and he’s underachieving with it. Neither of those two things are really disputable.

  • Stan

    After my post,its great that Bogut turned it up,12 points and 20 rebounds. Not the 25 points I asked for,but I’m satisfied the Big Eucalyptus rose to the occasion.
    Not many stars do anymore. You light a fire under McFadden and all he does is complain that his buttocks are hot and “I need to rest”…”For the rest of the season”….