Warriors

Warriors -- spotlight on statistics

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Warriors -- spotlight on statistics

Mike Kreuser
CSNBayArea.com

Tuesday's loss to Oklahoma City was the Warriors' 22nd game this season, wrapping up a third of this shortened 66-game schedule. At 8-14, the start has been less-than promising for coach Mark Jackson's first season, but how does it compare to Keith Smart a year ago?

In a normal schedule, a third is slightly more than 27 games. In 2010-11, the Warriors were 9-18 in their first 27. That's a .333 win percentage, so slightly less than Mark Jackson's .364.

Record aside, many of the team stats are remarkably similar. This year's team is shooting slightly better from the field (46.1 vs 45.3), but slightly worse from three-point range (38.2 vs. 38.8). The Warriors have averaged one more assist and one fewer turnover this season, but are also averaging just under two fewer total rebounds. One of the largest discrepancies has been offensive rebounding; this year's squad is averaging 3.2 fewer offensive boards (10.3 this season, 13.5 last).

Yet despite the many similarities, this is a different team defensively. Even with Oklahoma City's 119-point outburst on Tuesday, the Warriors are still allowing just under 6 fewer points per game (100.9 this season, 106.8 last season). The Thunder's 119 points upped that number by over a full point.

The Warriors are also scoring slightly less (98.5 this season, 100.9 last), but that number jumped 2.3 points after their last three games, when they've averaged 113.7 points per game. Part of that has to do with a slowing down of the game -- the Warriors are averaging just over two fewer possessions per game this season.

So despite the difference in total, they are actually really similar in terms of offensive efficiency (103.0 points100 possession this season, 103.2 points100 possession last). Defensively though, their efficiency has improved by 5 points per hundred possessions.

So how has Golden State been more efficient? The Warriors haven't forced more turnovers (TOs down .7 this season) and they haven't done better on the glass (opponents averaging .2 more rebounds).

The improvement has come from better rotations and some luck. The luck is free throw shooting. Last season, opponents shot 79.0 from the line and this season that number has dropped to 73.8. Since opponents average 28.5 free-throw attempts a game, that's a difference of a point a game without the Warriors having to do a thing.

But opponents are shooting worse from the field (45.2 this season, 47.3 last) and from the three-point line (37.0 vs 38.0). Opponents are also averaging 2.7 fewer assists per game. That adds up to better rotations on ball defense (which limits open shots created by a pass) and tougher looks at the basket. Those improvements demonstrate two things: Jackson's defensive emphasis and better effort from the players.

Unfortunately for Jackson, the improvement on defense has not made a huge difference in the win column. Right now the Warriors are on pace for a 24-42 season if they maintain their .364 win percentage. If Jackson's goal is to do better than a year ago, that's not going to cut it.

Last year's team took off after the first third of the schedule. After their 9-18 start, Keith Smart's Warriors went 27-28 in their final 55 games to finish with a .439 win percentage. The improvement was in large part thanks to David Lee and Stephen Curry getting healthy and an improved offense (106.6 points100 possession in the final 55 games). This year's team will benefit from a healthy Curry the rest of the way. With an improved defense, maybe it's time for Jackson to turn his attention to kick-starting that offense.

Mike Kreuser is a production assistant with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

Curry claims he didn't throw mouthguard at ref: 'I've got a pretty good aim'

Curry claims he didn't throw mouthguard at ref: 'I've got a pretty good aim'

Just before the Warriors officially lost the game in Memphis on Saturday night, their superstar point guard lost his cool.

After not getting a foul call with 43 seconds left in the game, Steph Curry chucked his mouthguard in the direction of referee Scott Wall in a fit of rage reminiscent of Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals.

Wall immediately ejected Curry, who continued to argue with the officials.

After the game, Curry wanted to make it clear he wasn't trying to his Wall with his mouthguard.

"If I tried to throw it at him and hit him, I've got a pretty good aim," Curry said told reporters after the game. "I've thrown my mouthpiece plenty of times and thrown it on the floor. Probably not the best thing to do, but I've done it. I own up to it.

"If I was trying to throw it at him or hit him, I would have been able to executed that."

Curry explained why he reacted the way he did.

"That last play, I thought I got fouled. My frustration boiled over, did something stupid, deserved to get kicked out and that's what happened. Obviously learn from it and try not to do it again," Curry told reporters.

Now Curry and the Warriors wait to see if the NBA will suspend or fine him. He has an expectation of what the punishment will be.

"Don't think it will be a suspension or anything. My pockets will be a lot lighter," Curry said after the game.

What's caused Warriors' slow start and why it should come as no surprise

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USATSI

What's caused Warriors' slow start and why it should come as no surprise

It’s much too early to get legitimately nervous, much less start tumbling into a panic.

The Warriors are going to be fine.

Eventually.

They most certainly are not yet what they will become in about two weeks, when they settle in for a four-game homestand that begins Nov. 6. That’s 10 games into the season, and it’s conceivable the Warriors might be 6-4.

After a 111-101 loss to the ever-tenacious Grizzlies on Saturday in Memphis, the Warriors are 1-2 and, by their lofty standard, looking about as lost as a stray cat in a hurricane.

“We’re obviously not ready. We knew that,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We’re not ready to put together a full effort. And I’m not doing a great job of putting together combinations, finding the right motivation to get guys going, to get some joy and laughter in here.

“It’s just one of those rough patches. And, hopefully, we can climb our way out of it. I’m sure we will. It may take some time.”

It will take some time, and of that there is plenty.

Do not blame this lull entirely on China, not when there is so much more. The Warriors are coming off their third consecutive prolonged season, this one followed by the training camp disruption caused by spending eight days in Oakland, eight days in China, followed by eight days in Oakland leading up to opening night.

It’s easy to see the timing is off on an offense that relies on precision. The spacing is off on an offense that requires room to operate. The energy is lacking on a defense that lapses into ordinary without its bedrock intensity. Both body and spirit appear less than peak.

“We’ve been playing hard,” Kevin Durant told reporters at FedEx Forum, “but I think we’ve got to take it up a level.

“We’ll be fine. It’s 79 more games left. I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”

Understand, a team that won an NBA-best 67 games last season and posted a league-record 16-1 postseason doesn’t lose it because opponents load up. When the Warriors are on their game, opponents don’t matter.

For now, though, there is an individual listlessness that results in collective slumber. Stephen Curry has gambled himself in foul trouble in both losses and was booted in Memphis. Andre Iguodala missed an entire game and Draymond Green missed the fourth quarter of the first loss, a game in which the Warriors gave up a 13-point lead over the final 12 minutes.

And Durant’s 4.6 blocks per game is impressive. It also happens to be offset by his 6.3 turnovers per game.

“That’s on me,” he said. “I’m turning the ball over at a high rate right now. I’m really pissed at myself about it. I’ve just got to hold on to the ball. Just make the correct pass. I think I’m just rushing. I just need to calm down, settle down, and that would ignite the whole team. But if I turn the ball over, that’s contagious.”

The Rockets turned 17 Warriors giveaways into 21 points. The Pelicans turned 14 into 20. The Grizzlies turned 17 into 24.

Asked what has to change, Klay Thompson went to exactly the right place, saying “probably our defensive intensity from the jump.”

That’s where it starts, at least on the court. Meanwhile, there is more video work, more group texts about details and the need for more time for their bodies and minds to become one.

“We’ll be better,” Durant said. “We’re still finding a groove with each other. We’re still getting back into shape as far as playing our game, the flow, just the reads off not calling plays. We’ve got to get used to that again.”

Thompson is, however, displaying a modicum of impatience.

“We’ll come out Monday and we’ll play a great game,” he said. “I guarantee it.”

He’s probably right. The Warriors will be playing at Dallas, against a Mavericks team that is built to be devoured by the powerful.

That might be a quick fix. But it won’t be the final fix. That is weeks away.