OAKLAND – The Warriors, possessors of the NBA’s best offense, never really found their rhythm Thursday night against one of the league’s softest defenses, and the disappointment was not limited to seeing the end of a winning streak.
No, the Warriors didn’t much like what they put on the floor in a 132-127 double-overtime loss to Houston. They engaged in a bit of self-flagellation and, quite frankly, they deserved it.
“All in all, it was our execution,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We weren’t moving and cutting like we normally do. I just felt like our ball movement went away and as a result we just kind of fell into their switching and kind of went one-on-one and took difficult shots. We have to do better with that.”
Which may be why Draymond Green, in a scorching dissection of the Warriors’ performance, spared no one.
“We didn’t shoot well, and a part of that not shooting well was we were just standing there,” he began. “And it turned into the Steph Curry Show, the Kevin Durant Show. And that’s not who we are. We move the ball – and then it turns into the Steph Curry Show, and then it turns into the Kevin Durant Show. And they’re getting great shots.
“It’s not their fault that I was standing at the top of the key, and the other guys were standing on the weak side watching them play. I would do what they were doing, too, if everybody else is just standing there watching. That falls on us. We were over there watching.”
No aspect was more maddening for the Warriors than the two overtimes, during which they shot 25 percent (5-of-20) – including an utterly galling 9.1 percent in the second and decisive five-minute period.
They failed to get a field goal before Curry fouled out with 3:25 left, and got only one as he watched from the bench. Houston focused on Durant, whose efforts to carry the Warriors were in vain, as he was 0-of-4 in the second OT.
“Our offense wasn’t moving,” Green said. “(Durant) took all tough shots, and it wasn’t his fault. Everybody else stood and watched him play. I don’t think he was necessarily tired. I think every shot he took in overtime was contested, because we were all standing there.”
That’s a sin in Kerr’s offense, which relies on movement by the players and the ball. Instead, the offense seemed to deflate. Joining Green and Durant on the floor for most of the finish were Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.
They managed four points in five minutes, with Green accounting for all four.
Truthfully, though, the Warriors were sagging all night. Though Durant started well enough, making 8-of-14 through three quarters (he was 4-of-14 from the fourth quarter on), he got little help. Thompson was 4-of-20. Curry was 9-of-22.
“We didn’t move the ball very well and we didn’t execute down the stretch,” Kerr explained.
Houston was superior almost across the board, from shooting percentage to rebounding and from points in the paint to second-chance points, which is why they led for the vast majority of the game.
James Harden was fabulous on offense, pretty much orchestrating the action en route to a triple double (29 points, 15 rebounds, 13 assists). Ryan Anderson scored 29 points.
The Rockets were particularly effective grabbing offensive rebounds and turning them into points.
“We have to do a better job, come in and grab rebounds,” said Durant, who pulled 13. “If we had grabbed a couple of more, we would have won this game, but life has to move on.”
With Durant scoring 39 points and Green (20 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists) trying to will them to victory, the Warriors hung around. But when Curry and Thompson combine for 13-of-42 shooting, 7-of-26 beyond the arc, the Warriors usually are in trouble.
“We had our moments especially in the first overtime,” Kerr said. “We had a real cushion. I think we were up four (119-115, 4:11 left) and I thought we let it slip away at that point when we had every opportunity to finish them off.”
The Warriors instead were outscored 17-8 over the final nine minutes of action. That has to hurt when you’re rich in offensive talent, in a system designed to ring up points. All too often on this night, the Warriors seemed to forget about that.