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Game 44 rewind: A bad, bad loss for the Warriors

The Warriors lost a game Friday night they had no business losing. At home against a team that was 20-21 entering the night. Have…to…win. At least if you want to fancy yourself a Western Conference contender. Right now, the Warriors aren’t.

They’re a playoff team still, but right now they aren’t a contender. You can’t pretend to call yourself one when you are just 4-10 against fellow Western Conference playoff teams and 6-13 against teams in the conference who are currently .500 or better. I’ll delve deeper into that subject during my off-day story tomorrow. For now, let’s talk about this 121-120 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The feeling in the Warriors locker room was this loss had nothing to do with Harrison Barnes missing a wide-open jumper at the buzzer. That’s accurate. This had everything to do with 48 minutes of, once again, not playing good enough defense. They allowed 36 in the first quarter…on their home court where they should be able to jump out on teams. Right now, they aren’t. And Mark Jackson took the starters to task for it.

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“We are not defending at a high level to start ballgames,” Jackson said. “We’ve been bad. And that’s on our starters.”

Curry’s take after the game was that it didn’t matter if Barnes had made the shot or not. The Warriors, win or lose, did not play winning basketball.

“We can’t be in the situation like that, at home,” Curry said. “That’s the biggest takeaway from this game. We make that shot, it’s great, we win, but it masks the bad performance on the defensive end for 48 minutes.”

Of course, everyone would feel a ton better if Barnes had made the shot. But I think just about everyone watching knew he wouldn’t. Barnes is just a mess right now. He hasn’t handled the move to the bench well (on the court at least, I can’t speak for how he’s handled it emotionally). There’s probably a pretty good reason he was left open. If you’re the Timberwolves, you can live with it a little more if Barnes beats you. You want to do whatever you can to keep Curry from beating you.

Of course, neither beat the T’wolves and the Warriors are now just 2-5 since going on that 10-game winning streak. They’ve fallen 3 1/2 games back of the Chris Paul-less Clippers and it’s becoming hard to imagine them catching them in the Pacific, especially once Paul returns.

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Jackson talks all the time about defending at a high level. It’s something the Warriors haven’t done now in nine of the past 10 halves of basketball they’ve played (the second half against New Orleans being the exception, although second quarter vs. Indiana was good also). If the Warriors want to be who they think they can be, it has to start on the defensive end ASAP.

Be sure to check out new beat writer Diamond Leung’s game story, as the Warriors did him a real solid by giving him a nice and easy game to make his debut. Yeah, right. From here on out, this will pretty much be Diamond’s show. I may hop in from time to time (I’m actually filling in next Friday on the road in Utah), but Diamond will have you covered for all things Warriors. If you’re not already, be sure to follow him on Twitter.

Jimmy Durkin

I cover mostly San Jose State football for the San Jose Mercury News/Bay Area News Group, but also fill in from time to time with the 49ers, Warriors, A's and Giants.

  • Howard Benner

    This is a phantom playoff team & will soon be lapped by the Griz & Phoenix. . .they are what they are & it’s a team that is immature, soft, feels sorry or itself & concocts excuses each & every night for substandard play. . .this team is living off last year’s press clippings. . .

  • flaninerfan

    Not the first young team to drop off after a successful year and higher expectations. Plus a bunch of inflated ego’s. This team needs a coach to lead and coach them to another level. Not a rah rah guy. Similar to the 49ers with Singletary. Now we need to find a Harbaugh.

  • jsl165

    Yeah, well, if Barnes’ confidence is shot such that he can’t shoot, why is Jax leaving him on the floor at game’s end?

  • Stan

    Jackson should have called a play that FREEs Curry, Not make him some decoy. Curry or Iguadala or Lee at the end of the “who should have shot”. Barnes clanked a wide open shot because the Pacers knew he would miss.
    Just a lot of mistakes by Jackson at the end of games is why the team is losing close.
    And Klay’s bad play..dumb fouls,no defense and he cant hit a 3 but keeps chucking them up ruining any Warrior deliberate play. Just too much schoolyard out there.

  • Tim

    Jackson is a preacher not a teacher.

  • Tim

    Better question is: Why has Barnes not developed into the apparent star we saw in the playoffs? Because Jackson can’t coach. He does not understand the best team was 2 ball handlers, Klay the shooter, Barnes and then Bogut. Lee is the odd man out. He does not fit.

  • PX

    Here is the solution, put in Barnes at starting PF which will make him a stretch PF. Put in Jamal Crawford as SG. Put Klay and DLee as 6th and 7th men. Klay can come in and do what he does best and shoot and not worry about actually playing basketball. Barnes can at least defend as well as DLee (he certainly can’t do worse), and he can use his quickness against bigger guys and go to the rim. Crawford can shoot a bit and can create his shot, so he would be a decent starting SG. In the fourth quarter, they can put in some combination of the top 7 players depending on who is hot.

  • thewarriorsrule

    i agree! it doesn’t matter who starts and who comes off the bench! if jackson was truly a “flow” coach, he would stick with the hot hand or what is working for him.

    his philosophy seems to be put the 5 best players on the court at the same time, and close out 2nd and 4th quarters with that lineup. it is seriously flawed.

    fire jackson.

  • thewarriorsrule

    totally agree jackson is just another singletary. we need to find a harbaugh.

  • thewarriorsrule

    agree

  • thewarriorsrule

    and yet after this wolves’ wakeup call, the warriors proceeded with losing to the wizards on their homecourt.

    fire jackson for not drawing up a game plan and keeping them focused.