Warriors

How do Warriors turn page on 'demoralizing' loss to Raptors?

Warriors

Demoralizing. Humiliating. Embarrassing.

Those were the words the Warriors used to describe their 130-77 loss to the Toronto Raptors Friday night. 

After the game, nobody other than coach Steve Kerr addressed the team. Neither Draymond Green nor Steph Curry -- who both sat out with injuries -- had any inspirational, or even jarring, things to say. Klay Thompson spoke to a few teammates in the hallway, but there wasn't a whole lot of conversation.

Everyone already knew just how bad it was.

"Not much needed to be said," Kevon Looney said in a postgame video conference. "Everybody who was a part of that game and everybody played knew. Everybody was embarrassed. Everybody's going to look at themselves in the mirror after a game like that and go back to the drawing board ... Nothing needed to be said that we didn't already know."

Curry (tailbone contusion) and Green's (left finger sprain) absences surely had an impact on the Warriors' performance against the Raptors. Golden State missed the pair's experience and play-making.

But what plagued the Warriors went far beyond missing them. 

"The most disappointing thing tonight was the basic fundamental stuff," Kerr said. 

That's what Kerr covered in his postgame speech. He talked about effort and highlighted the Warriors' failure of sharing the ball and defense.

 

The Warriors left good shooters open to defend poorer ones. They struggled to box out. They over-dribbled. They couldn't complete passes. They failed in transition.

"One of the fundamental rules in basketball is you don't let the ball get behind you," Kerr said. "It's like being a free safety in football. You never let the pass get over your head. We did that twice last night and two or three more times tonight. And, as I told the team, those are grade-school plays. There are zero excuses for ever letting somebody get behind you, and we've done it back-to-back nights several times. 

"The other thing that was disappointing was the lack of ball movement. Our team has been built on sharing the ball. When you move the ball in this game, that's when the magic happens. That's when you build an energy of karma. The shots tend to go in if you move the ball and share it. And I just saw one possession after another tonight that was one pass and a shot. We've got to play for each other, and we didn't do that tonight."

So, where do the Warriors go from here? Kerr believes his team is primed for a run during the final 23 games of the season. Curry agrees.

But the Warriors (23-26) are currently in 10th place in the Western Conference and 7.0 games out of sixth place, the seed that would allow them to skip the play-in games. Golden State also is just two games out of 12th place, and has fallen three games below .500 for the first time this season. 

What's most discouraging for the Warriors, though, is that they appear to be regressing instead of making strides forward. All of the things Kerr and his players listed as reasons why they got blown out by the Raptors have been issues all year long. 

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Kerr has vowed to make his playing system simpler, moving away from the Warriors' now-signature free-flowing offense to more high screens and pick-and-rolls to get the younger players, such as James Wiseman, more involved. That seems to work in one game, and then fail in the next, and Friday was one of Wiseman's worst performances to date. 

So the first step to make a run would be correcting the simple fundamental and mental errors. Next, the Warriors need to get healthy so they can get a sense of what they are actually working with. From there, Golden State must find a way to play consistently.

Again, the Warriors have needed to do these three things since the beginning of the season.

The Warriors are running out of time to hit their stride. And if anything, their loss to the Raptors just highlighted how far the Warriors have to go, especially if Curry misses more games.

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