Warriors' lowly loss to Pacers revealed in unlikely zeroes

Warriors' lowly loss to Pacers revealed in unlikely zeroes

All around Bankers Life Fieldhouse there were symptoms of what ailed the Warriors, with two clearly more significant than the dozen or so others.

There was Draymond Green’s atypically low-energy first half, when he grabbed exactly zero rebounds.

And there was Klay Thompson’s uncharacteristically empty second half, when he scored precisely 0 points.

Can anything anybody else did possibly matter?

The Warriors followed up one of their most encouraging wins of the season, limping into Oklahoma City on Tuesday and holding off a Thunder squad with an urgent need to win game, by strolling into Indianapolis on Thursday and allowing the Pacers to snatch their lunch bags and use them to slap the defending champs upside their heads.

Steve Kerr was livid and made no attempt to conceal it after a 126-106 loss to Indiana, which had much more at stake and performed with appropriate vigor.

“Yeah I’m mad,” he said, a hint of despair in his voice. “I’m embarrassed. I know this game doesn’t mean anything in the seeding, but the playoffs start next week. It was an embarrassing effort. Pathetic effort.”

A coach is always displeased when his team doesn’t look like itself.

Green is the hub of so much of what the Warriors do. He’s the energy guy. The playmaker. The emotional leader, the spiritual touchstone and, of course, the fire-breathing catalyst of a defense that will have to carry them for a few more weeks, until Stephen Curry returns to complete the offense.

That Green managed zero rebounds in the first half -- he grabbed three in the second -- tells you he was not himself.

This is not the guy that grabs the Warriors by their collective collar and drags them toward victory, forcing them to keep up, until they finally do.

Pacers power forward Thaddeus Young was infinitely better than Green on this night, and there aren’t many nights when that can be said.

Green played 29 minutes, contributing 9 points -- making all three of his shots and both his free throws -- five assists, three rebounds, one block and two turnovers. He finished minus-16.

Thompson doesn’t say much, but we’ve seen him enough to recognize he usually finds his best self when the task is most challenging. His job was to make life difficult at both ends of the court for Indiana star Victor Oladipo.

Thompson was a decisive winner in the first half, outscoring Oladipo 16-7, but faded badly after intermission. Oladipo won the second half 14-0. Thompson was minus-14 over 30 minutes, Oladipo plus-27 over 33.

Oladipo is a terrific young player have a fabulous season. He was named to the All-Star team for the first time this season.

Thompson is having a season that measures up to what he is, a four-time All-Star who has earned two championship rings. He generally looked like that guy, but only for a half.

It’s easy to look toward Kevin Durant’s missed shots, and there were a bunch of them on a night when he never found his usual efficiency. He was not himself, either.

But Green and Thompson don’t do zeroes. They don’t pick up goose eggs. They don’t go ghost in categories of the stat sheet that helps define who they are.

Sure, the Warriors had too many turnovers. They were outshot, outrebounded, outhustled and outsmarted. Durant said the Pacers “came out with a better strategy and being more aggressive than us.”

Hmm. Interesting.

The defense the Warriors so desperately need, and was there for them on Tuesday, failed miserably on Thursday. The Pacers in the second quarter scored on eight consecutive possessions, totaling 18 points in less than four minutes. Indy needed sa little more than four minutes to go on a 17-1 run in the fourth to bury the Warriors.

That only happens to the Warriors when they don’t look anything at all like the team they know they are the one the NBA has come to expect.

Breaking down Pelicans vs Warriors Western Conference Semifinals

Breaking down Pelicans vs Warriors Western Conference Semifinals

SAN ANTONIO -- By eliminating the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, the No. 2 seed Warriors advanced to the Western Conference Semifinal round, where they will face New Orleans, with Game 1 set for Saturday at a time to be determined.

The No. 6 seed Pelicans advanced last Saturday with a four-game sweep of the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers.

Here is a look at recent history as well as matchups -- as best we can determine, considering many will involve cross-matching -- between the Warriors and Pelicans:


Andre Iguodala vs. Rajon Rondo: It’s possible but not likely that Stephen Curry will be available for Game 1, which means Warriors coach Steve Kerr should stay with Andre Iguodala, whose defense and intellect were on display against the Spurs. Rondo clearly is the leader of the Pelicans and is playing at a very high level. He averaged 13.3 assists per game against Portland and scored well enough (11.3 ppg, 48.7 percent FG) to keep defenses honest.

EDGE: Even.


Klay Thompson vs. Jrue Holiday: This matchup, featuring the best two-way guards in the league, should be highly entertaining. With the exception of Game 4, Thompson was fabulous against the Spurs, averaging 22.6 ppg on 52.9-percent shooting, including 51.6 percent beyond the arc. Holiday also was superb, averaging 27.8 ppg on 56.8-percent shooting while shutting down Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard. Thompson is four-time All-Star and Holiday, who hasn’t been an All-Star since 2013, is reminding everyone of his considerable skills.

EDGE: Even.


Kevin Durant vs. E’Twaun Moore: Durant is a consensus top-5 player and, at 6-foot-11, presents a matchup headache for any defender. He can also expect to at times match up with Pelicans star Anthony Davis. Durant led the Warriors in scoring against the Spurs (28.2 ppg, 48 percent FG but only 25 percent from deep) and will be target No. 1 for the New Orleans defense. Put another way, Moore, will spend less time on Durant than a couple of his teammates.

EDGE: Significant edge to Durant.


Draymond Green vs. Nikola Mirotic: Another juicy matchup, featuring the splendid defensive gifts of Green against the brilliant shooting of Mirotic. Though Green also will get turns against absurdly good Pelicans center Anthony Davis, he is sure to see plenty of Mirotic, who against Portland averaged 19.3 ppg, shooting 46.2 from deep and 57.1 overall. In either case, Green, who at times single-handedly thwarted San Antonio’s offense, will have to spend more time playing on-ball defense.

EDGE: Slight edge to Green


Entire Warriors army vs. Anthony Davis: The matchup description is not much of a stretch. Davis, who is every bit to matchup headache that Durant is. Davis’ 33 ppg in the first round leads all playoff scorers, is going to see no fewer than four different defenders -- Kevon Looney, JaVale McGee, Durant and Green -- over the course of this series. Anyone who defends the 6-10 star is going to need both skill and luck. On the other end, Davis will patrol the paint in an effort to protect the rim. He leads all playoff performers in blocks (2.8 bpg).

EDGE: Significant edge to Davis


The Warriors and Pelicans met four times, with the Warriors winning three times:

Nov. 20 at New Orleans: Warriors 128, Pelicans 120 Nov. 25 at Oakland: Warriors 110, Pelicans 95 Dec. 4 at New Orleans: Warriors 125, Pelicans 115 April 7 at Oakland: Pelicans 126, Warriors 120

Draymond calmly claps back at Webber, 'my (championship) jewelry fit well'

Draymond calmly claps back at Webber, 'my (championship) jewelry fit well'

OAKLAND -- Draymond Green concedes he doesn’t generally look to score, that he’d rather set up his teammates to provide that for the Warriors.

So he was only mildly annoyed by comments made by TNT analyst Chris Webber during the telecast of Game 5 between the Warriors and Spurs on Tuesday night.

Webber said that if Green were on another team and was expected to score that “he may not be in the starting lineup.”

Naturally, Green was fully loaded for a ready response.

“I don't have a scorer's mentality, especially for the team that I play on,” Green began after a 99-91 victory. “If I did have a scorer's mentality, it would throw all this off and it wouldn't work out.

“You know, there are times in the game where I probably need to score more, but it's hard to turn a scorer's mentality on and off. I've had that once before in my life. You don't just click that on or off. Nonetheless, I do know when I need to be more aggressive and that helps my team out.”

Green was just warming up, saving his best stuff for punctuation.

“But I don't care,” he continued. “I've done some great things in this league. I've been to All-Star (games) twice averaging like 11 points, 10 points or something like that. Look, you know, I don't need to score.

“However, I don't think (Webber) can find many GMs are coaches that wouldn't say I wouldn't start on their team, and you know, my -- I'm fine without scoring the ball. I think I've created a new lane for guys in this league to where you don't have to score 20 points to be an All-Star or be a starter in this league and it is what it is.

“That's fine and my (championship) jewelry fit well. So I'm doing really pretty good. You know, much love to C-Webb, though, from Michigan, State of Michigan, you know, we good.”

There is good reason to believe there is at least a degree of friendly-unfriendly rivalry at work. Webber grew up in Detroit and attended the University of Michigan. Green grew up in Saginaw and, and 15 years later, attended Michigan State University.

For the record, Green averaged 11.4 points, a team-best 11.2 rebounds and a team-best 8.0 assists in the five-game series with San Antonio.

Green has earned two championship rings with the Warriors, who have reached three consecutive NBA Finals with him at power forward.

Webber spent his rookie season (1993-94) with the Warriors, and was named Rookie of the Year. Though the Warriors were swept by Phoenix in the first round that season, he eventually appeared in 80 playoff games -- 53 as a member of the Sacramento Kings -- but never reached the NBA Finals.