Warriors suck the fun out of winning by not completing four ruthless quarters

Warriors suck the fun out of winning by not completing four ruthless quarters

It is the job of the Golden State Warriors to keep us sufficiently entertained during the long winter march to the start of the regular season in April, and though you wouldn’t suspect it at first glance, this is a difficult task when they are winning 17 out of every 20 games. Over and over and over again.
In that way, Wednesday night’s 126-111 victory over the Charlotte Hornets can be considered a failure. In fact, it can be considered a failure twice, as an easy cover for bettors ended up being a galling push because of Treveon Graham’s last-second trey. Steve Kerr’s decision not to call a timeout to prevent this travesty of justice is something he’ll have to live with for the rest of his life.
Oh, sure, nobody is getting more bang per buck than a Warrior fan, because there are so many ways in which they can induce drooling. There is the odd uber-highlight from Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson or Draymond Green or the magnificent Zaza Pachulia, or, as we have come to know them, WTF-O-Grams. There is the odd Green tantrum, which happens less and less frequently as he embraces his newest attempt at a zen-like state. There is even the occasional thoughtful Kerr pregame treatise on modern politics in an increasingly dangerous world.
They are, in short, the most fun you can have with a seat in the nosebleeds.
But truthfully, what we are all in this for more than anything else is the platinum beatdown – a game like Wednesday’s purported to be, in which the locals jumped on Charlotte’s exposed windpipe right at the end of the national anthem, took a 20-point lead barely six minutes into the game, had 77 at the half, 108 in three quarters, and ended up with a pipe-slippers-and-brandy-chaser victory.
Unless, of course, you were giving the 15. Or you bet the under. Or you’re only in it for the “I saw them win a game by 60” crowd.
Here, to ruin the narrative flow, is a chart of the 10 teams who best know how to assemble a blowout, from 2014-15 to the present day. Admire the 20 wins by 30 or more, or the five by 40 or more. The Warriors know excessive.
      WINS BY    20 30 40 50
SA                    45    7  2   1
CLE                  41  16
GS                    40  14  5   1
LAC                  37    8  1
OKC                  28   5
UTA                   22   4  1
ATL                    21   5
HOU                  20   4  1 
DET                   19   2
CHA                  18   2
DAL                   18   2  1   1
(Data stolen brazenly from ProBasketballReference.com, no rights reserved whatsoever)
But Warrior fans have been made hard to please by the overwhelming winning percentage, or the parade, so a game like Wednesday’s is as likely as not to leave a meh taste in their mouths. And for this team, having created such a ridiculously big bar of stimulus, the taste of meh may as well be the taste of soot.
If there is a practical value in this otherwise entirely gratuitous statistic, it is that games like that allow a coach to rest his starters while his reserves maintain useful intensity. Now that wasn’t entirely the case Wednesday, as Kerr closed the game with his vaunted Slight Case Of Bronchitis lineup of James Michael McAdoo, Ian Clark, Kevon Looney, Patrick McCaw and Damian Jones. They’re the ones who couldn’t hold that precarious 120-100 lead.
But mostly routs are for entertainment purposes only – like Golden State’s record against the line (22-25-2, which is unacceptable) or against the total (21-28, which is simply putrid). The Warriors have sucked some of the joy from winning, which is why people ask “What’s wrong with the Warriors?” when they win 119-113 (Detroit, December 23), so they have to reinvigorate the fan base with the occasional 149-103 (Team Walton, November 23).
In other words, we as a nation pretend to like close games, but if it involves our favorite living laundry, we want a throat-punching, groin-kneeing, curb-stomping scoreboard assault.
Good-naturedly, of course.
This game wasn’t that, though, because the Warriors didn’t reduce the game into four ruthless quarters, but called it a good night’s work after two-and-a-half. In this way, those fans who stayed for the entire game (and you know who you are) didn’t get the thrill that comes with the comprehensive maulings people pay good money to see.
That doesn’t make up for the Stephen Curry 39-point game, or the latest up-tick from JaVale McGee, or Jones’ first NBA points. Sorry, gents, but when you suck the fun out of a mere victory, this is the kind of notice you get.
Thursday, the Warriors go to Los Angeles to face the Clippers, their one-time archrivals who most recently gave Warrior fans exactly what they want – a 144-98 defeat.
That isn’t likely to happen again, though. Kicking the brains out of someone is a lot harder than it looks, which is why until the regular (read: preseason) ends, maybe you should just use your imaginations to spot the opponent a 20, and then see what the Warriors can do. You’ll re-learn what most fan bases already understand – the agony of competition, even if it’s ginned-up and totally artificial.
Trust us, it’ll be fun. In other words, April can’t come soon enough.

Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut


Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut

OAKLAND -- Like much of the NBA and everyone with an interest in the Warriors, Omri Casspi has watched the emergence of Quinn Cook, who came out of the G-League and is making a strong bid to make the postseason roster.

Casspi, out since spraining his right ankle last Friday against Sacramento, happens to be at or near the top of the list of the tiny group of players that might be dropped should the Warriors decide to add Cook.

The 6-foot-9 veteran forward has heard the chatter.

“First of all, it’s you guys talking,” Casspi said, referring to media. “I don’t really feel it from the organization. At the end of the day, I’m focused on getting healthy and playing. That’s all I can control.

“I feel like the team needs me and know what I can do for the team. My focus is on getting healthy and playing.”

The Warriors have until April 11 to submit their playoff roster.

Casspi’s roster spot is in danger for three reasons.

One, he has lost confidence in his long-distance shooting, which was influential in the team’s decision to sign him to a one-year minimum contract last July.

Two, his defense has been a glaring weakness, with teams attacking him at every opportunity.

Three, he had fallen out of the rotation when the team was fully healthy and didn’t return until after succession of injuries. Casspi exceeded 10 minutes of playing time in only one of the 12 games before injuries to several teammates became a factor.

Stephen Curry’s ankle woes this season, along with Cook’s impressive play, are making a persuasive argument for adding the third-year point guard.

For now, Casspi is determined to get back on court after missing the last two games.

“With my role on this team, when I’m healthy I want to go out there and play, maybe not 100 percent healthy, but close to it,” he said. “That’s what I’m focused on, on feeling good and running up and down and being able to cut and move and be out there again with the guys.”

As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay


As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay

OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson all worked up sweat Wednesday, putting the Warriors ever closer to being whole again.

Only Draymond Green did not full participate in the non-contact practice session, but he’s expected back in a matter of days.

So while the Warriors are a little more than a week away from possibly having the full squad available, they’re starting to feel a little less vulnerable.

“They’re all kind of day-to-day,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Steph is closer to playing than KD and Klay.”

Curry has not played since March 8, when he tweaked his surgically repaired right ankle. He missed the last six games. Durant (rib cartilage injury) and Thompson (right thumb sprain) sustained their injuries on March 11 at Minnesota, though Durant played one more game, March 14, before receiving a diagnosis. Durant missed the last three games, Thompson the last four.

Green sustained a pelvic contusion Monday night at San Antonio, but believes he will be available this weekend, either Friday against Atlanta or Sunday against Utah.

Curry, though, is fully cleared for all activities.

“Steph looks great,” Kerr said. “He’s chomping at the bit. But we’ll see how he responds in the next couple days before we decide whether he plays or not.”

Durant loathes acknowledging pain or injuries, and his return will be dictated by his ability with withstanding the contact inevitable in the course of a game.

“I don’t expect KD to play this week,” Kerr said. “It’s not like a timetable . . . just sort of a feel thing. It’s symptomatic with him.”

Thompson seems, at this point, the furthest away from full activity.

“Klay did some stuff," Kerr said, “but not full participation.”