Denver’s Kenneth Faried was disruptive in the paint all night.
After losing three of their last four games, including a loss to a terrible Sacramento Kings team, and a 24 point blow out loss against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Warriors suffered their worst loss in this young season on Saturday night. It was a double overtime contest that was eventually given away to the Denver Nuggets on the Warriors home court. This new roster is already developing the same old Warriors habits that fans have become so accustomed to. Terrible rebounding, atrocious defending, despicable offense flow, and just an all around embarrassing lack of execution. The Warriors had the game all but won at the end of regulation, the first overtime, and the second overtime, only to come out on the losing end of things.
The lack of execution is prominent at every area of their game. Starting with their early season injuries that they so badly needed to avoid, they are already without their star big man Andrew Bogut and their 6th man and best perimeter defender Brandon Rush. Having those two players out already puts this roster in a tough situation, so it’s up to the remaining players to step up and make a statement. Besides bench players Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack, nobody else can seem to rise to the occasion and make a play.
The Warriors backcourt has been a major issue early on in this season. Point guard Steph Curry hasn’t been shooting well, yet continues to jack up 3 after 3. He’s shooting a repulsive 37%, a full 10% lower than his career average. Steph also has trouble defending the other premier point guards in the league. Like the rest of the Warriors, he just does not play physical enough.Curry is this team’s leader and the reason management traded away fan favorite Monta Ellis, since signing his contract extension, he has not played up to his potential. Shooting guard Klay Thompson is also shooting just 37% and has even more trouble defending that Curry does. At times, Klay even seems lost out there; not understanding late game situations, unaware of the shot and game clocks, and not knowing that they have fouls to give, which is something that might have ultimately cost the Warriors the game on Saturday night. He has just been playing downright soft defense. The one bright spot in the back court has been the consistency and hustle of Jarrett Jack. His good ball handling ability allows Curry to come off screens and get some open looks, which is good because Curry has a tough time creating his own shot. Now Curry just needs to knock down some more of those open shots.
The Warriors frontcourt also has it’s issues. With Andrew Bogut already being sidelined, the Warriors are now forced to play rookie Festus Ezili and Andris “Goose” Biedrins at the center position alongside forward David Lee. While Ezili has shown some promising signs, he is not much of an offensive threat in his young career. He is, however, a big, physical presence on the defensive boards. While Biedrins, on the other hand, is not. Although he had 8 rebounds versus Denver, you cannot depend on “Goose” on a nightly basis, which is why they have decided to go smaller by playing Carl Landry and David Lee together in crunch time. Unfortunately, David Lee is arguably the worst defender on this team, especially for his size, position, and…contract. Set to receive $12,744 million dollars this year, Lee is the Warriors second highest paid player behind already injured center Andrew Bogut, who will make $13 million dollars this season. Lee, who is known for his capability of getting a double double on a nightly basis, has not produced offensively either. He’s averaging just 14 points per game and has only reached the 20 point mark twice so far this season. Lee averaged 20.1 points per game last season. The Warriors are going to really need Lee to step up while Bogut is sidelined. The one bright spot in the front court has been Carl Landry. He has been their most efficient scorer in the 4th quarter and has played extremely well all season long, even winning them a game or two already.
Denver’s JaVale McGee helped spark the Nuggets to a 2-OT win over Golden State.
While their backcourt and frontcourt have had issues, their worst production has come from the small forward/swingman position. Since the loss of Brandon Rush, more pressure has been put on rookie Harrison Barnes and veteran Richard Jefferson. Barnes needs to play with more aggression and confidence and attack the rim. At 6′-8″, he has the length to get to the basket and free throw line. It’s still early in the season, expect to see coach Mark Jackson push Barnes to play stronger. As for Richard Jefferson, he’s shooting a dismal 28%, including just 14% from downtown. As the third highest paid Warrior, he hasn’t earned a cent of this year’s $10,164 million salary. Those pathetic numbers speak for themselves. With an already small frontcourt in crunch time by playing Lee and Landry down low, now they are forced to go small in the backcourt as well by sliding Klay Thompson to small forward, and playing Curry and Jack together in the backcourt. This gave the Warriors major issues in their double overtime loss to the Nuggets. They simply could not rebound, losing on the glass 65-54. Nuggets spark plug Kenneth Faried had 18 points and 17 rebounds himself, including 9, yes NINE offensive rebounds, and first year Nugget Andre Iguodala and the uniquely interesting JaVale McGee each had 12 rebounds.
The Warriors were also out-rebounded 43-38 in their 2 points loss to the Kings, giving up 15 rebounds to DeMarcus Cousins, and out-rebounded yet again 58-47 in their disappointing performance against the Lakers, giving up 16 rebounds to Pau Gasol. It’s simple, with the Warriors lack of offensive threats, they need to get out there, defend, and rebound. They cannot continue to give teams second and third chances on every possession. Outside of a big win against the Clippers in the Staples Center, it hasn’t been pretty so far this season. Even their opening night Halloween win against the Suns was ugly. They need to play tougher as a team and hope that they can find an unexpected hero off the bench.
The Warriors next game is Wednesday, November 14th vs. the Atlanta Hawks. Tip off is at 7:30 PM Pacific time.
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