Warriors

Warriors can't sink any further than blowout loss to wretched Hawks

Warriors can't sink any further than blowout loss to wretched Hawks

Considering the depths to which they plunged Monday night, politely referred to as the lower bottom, the Warriors can only go up.

Coming 25 points short against a 4-16 team reeling from a 10-game losing streak is Hall of Shame stuff, and the once-proud Warriors (4-18) earned every shred of ignominy that comes with such a performance that concluded in a 104-79 loss to the Hawks (5-16) in Atlanta.

There was an excess of sloppiness, selfishness and competitive arrhythmia that sent the Warriors down by 11 in the second quarter, by 23 in the third and by as much as 28 in the fourth. They generally played less as a team than as a bunch of dudes introduced a few minutes before tipoff after being told NBA scouts would be in the stands, pens and paper at the ready.

“We were playing for ourselves out there, instead of playing for each other,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters at State Farm Arena.

“We were trying to dribble through traffic instead of moving the ball. Everybody was trying to make a play, instead of letting the next guy make the play and we just got frustrated. We didn’t have any kind of rhythm or flow to the game. Then, I thought Atlanta really punished us for our mistakes and they played well.”

The Warriors committed a season-high 25 turnovers, including 15 in the second and third quarters, during which they were outscored 56-30.

The Warriors shot 39.8 percent as a team, only 33.3 percent aside from Eric Paschall’s 9-of-11 accuracy. The rookie forward posted team highs in points (24) and assists (six), and also snagged nine rebounds, tying Omari Spellman for the game-high.

“I feel like sometimes when we get on runs, we can be a little selfish,” Paschall said. “But I think it’s something to learn from.”

There may be no better illustration of the futility than realizing Paschall had one more bucket than starting guards Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III, who combined to jack up 28 shots and made only eight. It’s as if there was no recognition of Paschall’s effectiveness, much less a concerted attempt to feed the one teammate displaying offensive rhythm and flow.

Rather, it was extended spasms of pickup ball, with an “every man for himself” dynamic.

Backup big man Marquese Chriss committed six turnovers in 20 minutes. Backup point guard Ky Bowman, a two-way signee whose ball security has been a pleasant surprise, was tagged with a career-high five giveaways.

And it’s not as if those turnovers were offset by dazzling passing that led the easy buckets. Indeed, it was the opposite. The Warriors tied their season-low with 17 dimes.

NBA teams generally aim for a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Warriors were 2-to-3.

“I feel kind of frustrated,” Paschall said. “But we are a young team, so we just have to learn from it. And we just have to keep playing together every night. We are all competitors. We play this game to win.”

The Warriors had a solid game plan to contain Hawks star Trae Young, intermittently blitzing the point guard to force the ball out of his hands. They had a measure of success with that.

Furthermore, the effort levels were for the most part acceptable. They won the rebounding battle (46-38) and put up more second-chance shots.

But they were 3-of-17 from deep, and 1-of-15 from Warriors not named Paschall.

The result is the Warriors taking a firm grip on the worst record in the NBA. At 4-18, they’re a half-game below the Knicks (4-17), one-and-a-half games behind the Hawks and a full three games behind the Pelicans in the Western Conference.

This is the Warriors’ worst start since 1987, when they started 4-21 and finished 20-62. That team didn’t win its fifth game until January.

“It’s not easy for anybody to lose, especially given that our team has fought really hard through the first quarter of the season and had some really difficult, close losses,” Kerr said. “It wears on you, and you want those efforts to be rewarded. You have to keep the faith, and you just have to keep fighting, and that’s my job to keep their spirits up, and turn it around.”

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That task can’t be easy. It has to get better, though, maybe as soon as Wednesday at Charlotte.

For no matter how badly the Warriors lose, or to whom, they can’t sink any further than they did Monday.

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 134-131 OT loss to Nuggets

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 134-131 OT loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Since the calendar flipped to 2020, the Warriors (9-33) have been searching for any sign of positively in a dormant season. They didn't find it Thursday night, losing to the Denver Nuggets 134-131 in overtime at Chase Center. 

The loss marked Golden State's 10th straight, as they fell to 0-9 in overtime games over the last two seasons. The Warriors led the majority of the night, taking a 19-point lead in the second half against the Nuggets (28-12) before squandering it in the fourth quarter. 

Michael Porter Jr. scored 18 points, including the go-ahead bucket with 1:16 to go in regulation. A minute later, Nikola Jokic hit a game-tying hook shot to send the game into overtime, leading to Golden State's latest demise.

Here are the takeaways from a disappointing loss:

Early defense gives way to second-half collapse. 

Golden State entered the game against the Nuggets with one of the worst defensive units in the league, allowing opponents to shoot 47 percent. On Thursday, they held the Nuggets to just 22.7 percent in the first quarter and forced two turnovers. By the end of the first half, Denver made just 15 of 49 (30.6 percent) from the field. 

Along the way, the Warriors outscored Denver in the paint and off the bench, building a 19-point lead. Then the Nuggets woke up, outscoring the 89-69 in the second half and overtime, using a 16-6 run to cut the lead to two in the fourth quarter. Before Porter's fourth-quarter layup, the Nuggets had not led all game. 

It was yet another disappointing turn of events for a Warriors team looking for any signs of development. 

Damion Lee returns with a bang

Lee has been waiting most of his career for a chance to play under a guaranteed deal. On Thursday, he made the most of his new status, finishing with 21 points and six assists in 37 minutes. 

Lee's importance to Golden State is apparent. During his 45 two-way days, he started 13 games, averaging 12.8 points over his last six outings. Upon return, Warriors coach Steve Kerr immediately put him in the starting lineup. 

Based on his new multi-year deal, the Warriors would like Lee to be a long-term piece. The plan was made possible by Lee's hard work. After two ACL tears, countless G League stints, and two two-way deals, he's finally on the long-term stage he deserves. 

Russell struggles again

D'Angelo Russell seemed primed for a tear after his 36-point performance last week in Memphis. After a 6-for-19 performance Thursday evening, those plans seem to be on pause. 

The result didn't seem likely in the first quarter, when Russell scored 10 points, including two 3-pointers in seven minutes. However, he shot 4-of-15 over the final three quarters and overtime. The sequence followed a recent theme for Russell, in which hot starts give way to puzzling finishes. In Tuesday's blowout loss to Dallas, he finished 5-of-17 from the field after making four of his first seven shots. 

Russell has the ability to go on large scoring binges. But with that strength comes occasional off-nights. If Russell can curtail the latter, the Warriors can be dangerous as long as he's on the roster. 

Klay Thompson shoots in full Warriors uniform on Chase Center court

Klay Thompson shoots in full Warriors uniform on Chase Center court

Just two days ago, injured Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson said he would "love to get out there" on the court with his teammates.

On Thursday, half of that declaration came true.

Thompson, who is rehabbing a surgically repaired torn left ACL, was out on the court at Chase Center shooting in full uniform.

Thompson was even sporting a headband. The shooting session lasted roughly 20 minutes.

Thompson spoke to the media before the Warriors game on Tuesday and provided an update on his recovery.

“It’s a tough part of the season,” Thompson said during halftime of the Warriors-Mavericks game. “It’s very rare for me not to be grinding through with them. But I’m trying to make sure this type of injury never happens to me again. So, I’ll be very patient because I want to play at a high level until I’m in my late-30s.”

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The Warriors and Thompson have yet to decide if the All-Star will return this season. The team is scheduled to provide an update on Thompson's status in mid-February.

While we wait for Thompson to return to game action, we can just enjoy watching his sweet stroke again in these short bursts.