HOUSTON -- Shooting poorly, committing a series of ghastly turnovers and lacking verve, the Warriors were at their worst Thursday night in Houston.
They lost big, 107-86, to the Rockets and had no immediate answers.
Here are two positives (yes, two) and two negatives culled from the defeat:
The All-Stars were woeful
With Stephen Curry out, the bulk of the production falls upon Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. All three came up short.
Durant scored 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting, 0-of-2 from deep and 8-of-8 from the line. He grabbed five rebounds, with two assists and two turnovers. He was minus-11 over 30 minutes. His defense was too often casual.
Green had played only once in 11 days and looked the part. The Rockets dared him to shoot and he was scoreless (0-of-3, 0-of-2 from deep). His five assists were more than offset by five turnovers. He said he was “horrible.” He was.
It’s a must that Thompson scores, and he managed only 10 points (5-of-16, 0-of-5 beyond the arc). He didn’t get many clean looks, so he forced a few shots. Worse, he committed three turnovers without an assist.
Explains a lot, eh?
Something in the air
The Warriors clearly weren’t locked in. It was the third game in four nights, each game in a different city, this one in a different time zone.
Those were factors, perhaps, but the joyless buzz of the week created by the Durant-Green quarrel seemed to be evident in the team’s failure to put together stretches of strong play. The Warriors looked less like a team prepared to destroy an opponent than a team trying to make it through the night.
There was the cascade of turnovers, giving the Rockets 29 points (the Warriors forced only eight, worth 7 points). There was an utter lack of rhythm, some of which can be attributed to Houston’s keyed-up defense and some of it to experimental lineups that had mixed results.
The challenge falls on coach Steve Kerr and his staff, as well as the team’s star players. It may take time. Until they get past this, the Warriors will be vulnerable.
No signs of irritation between Durant and Green
Durant still is bothered by being publically upbraided by Green. The Warriors were bothered enough by it to suspend Green for one game.
Because of that, all eyes were on them as they took the court for the first time since their late-game argument on the bench that continued in the locker room. They passed the eye test.
Durant’s second bucket, a dunk 68 seconds into the game, came off a feed from Green. There were moments when the two smiled in the wake of miscommunication on the court and they shared a laugh on the bench.
There was no sign of annoyance. Rather, it appeared they went out of their way to maintain a professional veneer. That’s sufficient for now.
Evans gets his first splash
Rookie guard Jacob Evans III had played a total of 10 minutes in the team’s first six games this month. He played 11 on Thursday. Maybe that, along with a stint with G-League Santa Cruz last week, helped.
The Cincinnati product made his first 3-pointer of the season, draining it from the right corner with 3:33 remaining in the second quarter. There was no celebration.
Evans had taken only two shots from deep before Thursday. He was 2-of-11 overall from the field before going 1-of-3 on Thursday.
The rookie plays solid defense. But he’ll have to make a few shots to get floor time. Maybe this will get him going.