Warriors

Warriors

Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 90 minutes before each home game and 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.

The Warriors just suffered the worst in-game collapse in NBA playoff history. But give the Clippers credit -- despite being down 31 points in the third quarter, they maintained an incredible level of focus and drive, attacking the Warriors defense and executing their strategy as if they were playing in a tie game. 

But when analyzing such a historic meltdown, it is easy to see where the Warriors let the Clippers complete a stunning comeback. Usually when a team comes back in a game, phrases like "scratch and claw" and "push and shove" are used to describe the team overcoming incredible odds and imposing their will. But in this case, the Warriors did not offer much resistance to the Clippers.

As a team, the Warriors were a mess defensively -- starting halfway through the third quarter. They started fouling recklessly and gave up fighting for loose balls. The Clippers were able to chip away at the lead by simply playing with more energy and desire. On offense, the Warriors completely lost their focus, throwing errant passes and firing away ill-advised shots.  

 

The Clippers were everything the Warriors weren't. They wanted to win and played like it, while the Warriors played like they were trying not to lose (but still did so historically).

When the Warriors lost badly at home to the better teams in the East -- or even when they blew games to the bottom-dwellers of the league -- there were still plausible excuses to exonerate the team. But when the boredom and apathy of the regular season creeps into the first round of the playoffs, then it is fair to wonder if these "excuses" are actually tragic flaws.

It is still way too early to speak of gloom and doom, as the Warriors are tied with LA in the series and are playing against an inferior opponent. If the Warriors simply play like they did the first two and a half quarters of the game, then this series is as good as over. But playing like that for a whole game, or series, is not so simple for the Warriors. 

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Assuming the Warriors advance to the Western Conference semi-finals (yes, it is still fair to assume that), they will not have the luxury of playing unfocused, apathetic basketball. But until then, the Warriors will go to Staples Center for Game 3 and will attempt to put this game in the past and learn from it.

Will they overcome this loss? There is no reason to expect otherwise.

Will they actually learn from it as to avoid any chance of repeating embarrassment? Now that will be worth watching.