The night the Warriors hated their display of 'disgusting basketball'


The night the Warriors hated their display of 'disgusting basketball'

An evening that began with a sheer absence of passion and profoundly negligent defense ended in an orgy of self-described masochism in Salt Lake City.

The haters came hard and heavy at the Warriors late Tuesday night, with the hardest and heaviest coming from those representing the team.

“It happens. It’s the NBA. It’s a long season,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters at Vivint Smart Home Arena after he and his team were on the blunt end of a 129-99 pummeling by the Utah Jazz. “The key is always how we bounce back.

“I think our guys will tell you, that was a pathetic effort out there. That was disgusting basketball.”

Informed of Kerr’s description, Stephen Curry barely hesitated.

“That’s pretty accurate,” he said.

“They just outplayed us in probably every aspect of the game,” said Klay Thompson, who provided a few glimpses of sunlight on offense (27 points, 12-of-17 shooting) while giving the Jazz guards plenty of daylight on defense.

This was the Warriors at their worst, comically bad, reminiscent of some of the rock-bottom days under the bargain-basement Chris Cohan ownership and its nondescript rosters and revolving door of coaches.

“Our hearts weren’t in it,” Kerr said. “At this level, if your heart’s not in it, I don’t care how much talent you have. You’re going to lose.”

This was Kerr’s 297th regular-season game as Warriors coach, and the previous 296 passed without anyone -- much less this utterly mediocre Utah team -- so thoroughly shredding the defense upon which they’ve built their elevated status. Utah shot so well as 58.2 percent from the field, blowing right past the previous high in the Kerr era, 54.5 percent by the Nuggets last February.

Forward Joe Ingles, a one-dimensional shooter who would be maybe the ninth man in the Warriors’ rotation, scored 17 points in the first half, draining 5-of-6 shots from deep. He made Kevin Durant look like a totem pole. Check that. Durant deserves all of the credit for that.

“I’ve got to be better. I can’t let Joe Ingles get loose on 3s like that and expect us to play well on the road, especially in here,” Durant said. “I’ve got to start off the game better if we want to win games.”

Durant wasn’t alone in playing an unsubstantiated rumor of defense that ushered Utah to its tip-to-buzzer rout. One game after deploying spectacular individual and team defense to close out the contending Boston Celtics, the Warriors threw their championship rings on the floor and watched their jewelry get ground into the floor.

Every member of the Jazz roster that played, and all 12 healthy bodies did, shot at least 50 percent, with the exception of terrific rookie guard Donovan Mitchell, whose 8-of-17 shooting dropped the team’s percentage down to 60.9 overall and 50 percent from beyond the arc.

It was not much of a surprise that the hulking and deliberate Jazz owned the paint, with a 58-46 scoring advantage, but it was downright shocking to watch the them score as many fast-break points, 14, as did the Warriors.

Such a darkly comic evening wouldn’t be complete if the Warriors didn’t toss the Jazz a few gifts. How about 20 turnovers, off which Utah scored 18 points?

“I asked Draymond on the bench in the fourth quarter if he could remember that bad of a performance we’ve had in recent memory and we really can’t. They’re few and far between,” Curry said. “But we’ve got to understand that every game we can’t show up and expect to win, especially on the road.

“It’s kind of cheating the game.”

Not only did the Warriors cheat the game, they also cheated themselves and their fans that were among the crowd in the arena.

Though they own the best record in the NBA at 40-11, it’s too much to believe the Warriors are going to be excellent, or even good, every night. There are going to be games when the desire to compete at the highest level fails to materialize.

That’s what happened. They didn’t want it. From the moment they stepped between the lines, the Warriors were, in boxing parlance, looking for a soft place to land.

They know it, and they have to wear it. The saving grace is that this was one of 82, and the Warriors are two days away from the next chance to better represent what they’re about.

A big opportunity awaits Swaggy P in Game 4 and potentially beyond

A big opportunity awaits Swaggy P in Game 4 and potentially beyond

OAKLAND -- When the Warriors signed Nick Young to a contract worth $5.2 million last July, it wasn’t so he could hitchhike to the playoffs. For much of this season, with the veteran shooter trudging through limited minutes, that’s how it has looked.

On Tuesday night, and perhaps beyond, Young will have a chance to give the Warriors a more substantial return on their investment. Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals looms and if Andre Iguodala is unavailable, there will be an opportunity for Young.

Suddenly, Nick Young, aka Swaggy P, often the butt of jokes and a frequent source of comic relief among his teammates, is needed in a serious role.

He already has a running start, averaging 16.7 minutes through the first three games. In the two previous playoff series, against the Spurs and the Pelicans, averaged 7.1 minutes per game.

Coach Steve Kerr said prior to Game 1 last week that Young could play a bigger role against the Rockets. That was a statement of trust in the former Laker, and Young has not disappointed. To the contrary, he had done an admirable job on the perimeter defending either James Harden or Chris Paul.

“He’s been great this series, guarding James, guarding Chris Paul, whoever he’s on,” Klay Thompson said Monday after practice. “He’s stayed disciplined, stayed in front of them. And as happy-go-lucky as Swaggy is, he’s also a competitor.”

Young’s defense, though nowhere near Iguodala’s level, has been solid against Houston. The team’s rating is a relatively 99.5 in Young’s 50 minutes on the floor.

“Luke Walton said he was the best defender on the Lakers when he was coaching him,” Thompson said, “even though Luke at the time said that wasn’t that big of an accomplishment.

“I didn’t know he moved his feet that well. But he’s definitely shown his value this series and why we brought him on, just because he stretches the floor and he’s a stalwart on defense.”

Absorb those last nine words for a moment. “Stretches the floor and he’s a stalwart on defense.” That may be the first time Nick Young has ever been described as a “stalwart” on defense. In this series, though, it’s hard to argue against it.

Still, Young’s greatest asset is on offense, where he does nothing better than stretch the floor with an extremely willing and very able three-point shot. Whereas opponents routinely sag off Iguodala, inviting him to shoot from deep, no team is foolish enough to take that risk with Young.

And that’s where he can burn the Rockets while also creating a little more room for deep-shooting teammates Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Thompson.

That ability, along with Young’s more reliable defense, is why he would be considered to start Game 4 in the absence of Iguodala, who is listed as doubtful with soreness in his left knee.

Kerr could go with Kevon Looney at center, sliding Draymond Green back to power forward and Durant back to small forward, with Curry and Thompson as the guards, with Young coming off the bench.

Or the coach could stay with Green at center, with Durant at power forward and Young moving into the small forward spot for Iguodala.

Young has not exactly been a terrific addition. His offensive production has been mostly hit-and-miss, and he usually has been a step slow on defense. His regular season was decidedly low-impact.

If he’s able to make a positive impact now, when it matters most, CEO Joe Lacob and general manager Bob Myers will feel a whole lot better about having signed Young.

Whether he starts or not, the opportunity will be there. And if Iguodala misses a game or more, the Warriors will be begging for Young to make the most of it.

Game Result/Schedule
Game 1 Warriors 119, Rockets 106
Game 2 Rockets 127, Warriors 105
Game 3 Warriors 126, Rockets 85
Game 4 Oakland -- Tuesday, May 22nd at 6pm
Game 5 Houston -- Thursday, May 24th at 6pm
Game 6 Oakland -- Saturday, May 26th at 6pm
Game 7 Houston -- Monday, May 28th at 6pm

Report: Draymond Green will not have his third technical of playoffs rescinded

Report: Draymond Green will not have his third technical of playoffs rescinded

The Warriors lobbied the league on behalf of Draymond Green and lost.

Draymond will not have his third technical of the playoffs rescinded, according to ESPN's Chris Haynes.

With just under seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of Game 3, Draymond committed a hard foul on a driving Trevor Ariza.

Ariza wasn't fond of Draymond's decision and there was a very minor altercation (if you could even call it that).

Ultimately, a double technical was called.

"I thought it was unfair," Steve Kerr said after practice on Monday. "We'll take it up with the league. He committed a hard foul but he held Ariza up and didn't allow him to get hurt.

"And then Ariza shoved him. Didn't seem like a double technical to me."

The third technical will cost Draymond $3,000, while the first two resulted in a $2,000 fine for each.

In the playoffs, a player is suspended one game once he receives a seventh technical.

Draymond did have one technical foul rescinded during the regular season.

On Feb. 24, he was hit with his 15th tech in a game against the Thunder.

Two days later, it was taken away.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller