For a team that’s on pace to finish with the best record in NBA history, two losses in three games sounds like a crisis. But the Golden State Warriors getting beat 113-95 by the Detroit Pistons just goes to show that they’re human, and Draymond Green is a lot more important to them than the scoring of Stephen Curry.
Curry scored 38 points and the Warriors were actually +2 during his 37 minutes, which just goes to show how bad things were without him on the floor. But the whole concept of the Warriors making the leap to NBA champions and perhaps NBA mythology is Curry not being the only thing that makes this team special. The defense, the ball movement, the depth. Suddenly, with four losses, the Warriors are not too far from losing the status of the best record in the NBA, and their next game is against the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road.
In both this loss and the one to the Nuggets, it’s more than just shots not falling, as players love to talk about. It’s also more than just the energy levels being different for both teams. It’s not the officials who were giving out some weird calls, most of them in favor of the Pistons. The Warriors were in deep trouble well before those whistles had any effect. The energy of the Pistons due to the crowd and the Ben Wallace appearance played a part, but basically, the Warriors were simply outplayed.
We’ve been saying it all year, but no matter where we go, teams are going to give us their best shot. It was a big night with the crowd, it was a sellout, retiring Ben Wallace’s jersey. They were coming after us. … In this league if you’re not ready to fight back, you’re going to get blown out.
Is it the absence of Steve Kerr from the sidelines? Is Luke Walton messing up the rotations? Maybe his magical touch has disappeared after almost three months of unprecedented success. There’s also the smaller lineups, which against some teams doesn’t work. Andre Drummond finished with 21 rebounds, including 7 on offense. Draymond Green often does a good job of eliminating those threats, but it’s another bad game for another former Michigan State player, who might have been overwhelmed by everything going on.
The Warriors going back to Curry, a bit of Thompson and the rest helping out isn’t healthy for the Warriors, happening for the second time in three games. The ball movement isn’t where it was during their better games (even some of their most recent wins haven’t been smooth as before) and the defense, which goes back to the energy and effort thing, has been slacking off, or maybe it’s struggling because the Warriors shot just 36.2% from the field, making it easier to catch them off guard?
Being better and smarter than everyone else is exhausting, and it seems the Warriors might be hitting a certain point when it’s getting slightly difficult outplaying everyone all the time, not capable of generating those crunch minutes with unbreakable defense and unstoppable offense on a nightly basis. There’s enough talent to carry them through these kind of rough patches without taking too much damage, but the consistent, intelligent, superior basketball has to return at some point.