Warriors

Warriors

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander walked past Omari Spellman's postgame media availability Sunday with a sly smile on his face, trying to lock eyes with the Warriors' big man.

Gilgeous-Alexander, like the rest of the NBA, has been a victim of Golden State's dominance over the league. Last season, his Clippers were bounced in the first round by the Warriors.

Now, with Kevin Durant gone, Klay Thompson injured, eight new additions to the roster and two blowout losses to start the season, the Warriors are dealing with NBA mortality.

"The reality is we f--king suck right now," forward Draymond Green admitted Sunday after the Warriors' 120-92 loss to the Thunder. "Hopefully we'll get better."

The Warriors' demise Sunday was evident from the start. Through the first four minutes, the Warriors were outscored 15-3, allowing the Thunder to shoot 56 percent in the first half as they took a 70-37 halftime lead. Gilgeous-Alexander added to his recent hot streak by scoring 19 points and adding nine rebounds and four assists, and guard Dennis Schroder scored 16 of his 22 points in the first half.

As the Thunder rolled, the Warriors failed to find any consistency, and even when an offensive set did seem to work, mistakes nullified the effort. Three minutes into the second quarter, Warriors guard D'Angelo Russell passed to a wide-open Spellman underneath the hoop, only for Spellman to bobble the ball and have his shot blocked by Danilo Gallinari, prompting a Thunder fast break.

 

The Warriors' latest dud comes as they navigate a new world. No longer the prohibitive favorites to win the NBA championship, they have one of the youngest rosters in the league. Of the Warriors' eight summer additions, just three have postseason experience and two are over the age of 26.

Adding to their problems, injuries to center Willie Cauley-Stein (foot), rookie forward Alen Smailagic (ankle), guard Alec Burks (ankle) and center Kevon Looney (hamstring) have crippled Golden State's depth. On Sunday, the young roster failed to get into sets, exacerbating their problems.

"We're just thinking way too much and we're not 'doing,' but most of these guys don't know what to do, and it's just the reality of it," Green admitted. "The amount of experience we have on the floor is very little, and you usually learn how to play with -- you figure this stuff out through playing, but hopefully they're figuring it out because they're playing."

For years, the Warriors' defense was the backbone of their championship runs. In the five years that Steve Kerr has been their coach, they've finished in the top 10 in defensive rating three times and No. 1 once. Now, the Warriors have the league's worst defense, with a 124.3 rating, and they've been outscored by 47 total points in their two games.

"Our defense this year is nonexistent," Green said. "I don't even think we know what defense is right now. The offense sucks because we're playing against a set defense every time."

Added Warriors guard Stephen Curry: "I can't even judge our offense because we're taking the ball out of the basket after every possession. We're giving up free-throw attempts and all that type of stuff. We've been drowning on that side of the floor, so it's really hard to assess what we're doing offensively."

Despite losing Durant in free agency, the Warriors still were expected to compete in the Western Conference, in part because of what they received in return. Hours after Durant announced his intention to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, the Warriors acquired Nets All-Star guard D'Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade. So far, Russell -- who was ejected in the third quarter Sunday -- has struggled, averaging just 13 points on 34 percent shooting from the field, adding to Golden State's curious play.

"I didn't have this feeling that it would be like this," Green admitted. "I kind of figured s--t wouldn't be the same. I didn't think we'd be getting our ass kicked like this. It's pretty bad."

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Now, the Warriors' future looks as unclear as their last two performances. Looney's hamstring will require neurologic testing this week, and Smailagic and Cauley-Stein's timetable to return remains a mystery. Still, as he stood at a similar spot that Spellman did roughly 15 minutes earlier, Green exuded confidence while admitting his team's faults.

 

"It's two games," he said. "It sucks, and I know people are used to seeing us win. I'm for damn sure not used to losing like this, but we're not giving up on anything after two games, nor are we giving up on ourselves.

"We do suck -- I did say that," he added. "That's true, but we're not giving up on ourselves."