Warriors' chemistry tearing at seams, as proven by stunning Game 2 loss

Warriors' chemistry tearing at seams, as proven by stunning Game 2 loss

OAKLAND -- The dynasty didn’t fall Monday night. There were signs of fracture, indicators that all is not well with the best basketball team on earth, but one loss, no matter how devastating, doesn’t topple walls of stone.

There is no question, though, that this loss tore at seams of the Warriors’ fabled chemistry and unity.

They blew a 31-point lead. Gave away a playoff game. At home. To a Clippers team built more on pluck than power.

Though the Warriors lost DeMarcus Cousins in the opening minutes, likely for good and surely a pity for him, his departure is not what invited the catastrophe that was a 135-131 loss to the Clippers in Game 2 of their first-round series.

Asked what went wrong in the worst second half of coach Steve Kerr’s five-year tenure, Stephen Curry didn’t flinch:

“Mainly just our aggressiveness, definitely, our togetherness definitely.”

They fell apart in ways few NBA teams ever do in a playoff game. They begged for defeat, and the Clippers were happy to oblige.

The reigning champs lost, first and foremost, because they continued to commit the sins they’ve evaluated, addressed, discussed, reviewed and vowed to avoid. They lost by giving the Clippers 34 points off turnovers -- more free buckets than any team scored against the Warriors in the 82-game regular season.

They lost by giving up 85 points in the second half, more than they allowed in the second half of any regular-season game.

[RELATED: Dubs' blown lead in Game 2 was biggest in playoff history]

They lost with Kevin Durant, one of the most gifted scorers to play the game, attempting just eight shots, committing nine turnovers and fouling out in the fourth quarter.

“He had a tough night,” Kerr said with what appeared to be steam coming from both ears.

They lost with 6-of-19 shooting in the same fourth quarter that LA’s star reserves -- Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell -- shot 10 of 14.

They lost with Curry going to the bench after committing his third and fourth fouls less than four minutes into the second half and never regaining rhythm, shooting 2 of 9 in the fourth quarter.

For the better part of three quarters, the Warriors were fortunate to be playing the Clippers, who looked as overmatched as the rosters suggest they should be. The Warriors went up 94-63 on a 3-point play by Durant with 7:31 left in the third.

Late in the third quarter and throughout the fourth, the Clippers were delighted to be playing the Warriors.

“We have those big deficits like that, I don’t really think we can come back and win the game,” said Williams, who scored 29 of his 36 points in 19 second-half minutes. “We just play as hard as we can to give ourselves an opportunity not to get embarrassed.”

The proud champion Warriors, on a quest to “three-peat,” looked, well, shook. The same team, in name, that gave LA five points on six turnovers in the first half gave up 29 on 16 over the final 24 minutes.

Kerr was simmering as hot as he has at any time this season, including the night he and Jordan Bell openly squabbled on the sideline. Klay Thompson seemed stunned but defiant. Durant left the locker room without speaking, and Draymond Green was so disgusted with the events of the evening that he, too, sprinted out in record time, without a word.

“For six-and-a-half quarters, we played amazing,” Curry said, referring to the 121-104 in Game 1 on Saturday. “Had a 31-point lead. The wheels fell off. I know we can get it back.”

Maybe they can.

[RELATED: Where Warriors centers go from here post-Cousins injury]

But no longer can anyone be certain about the Warriors. Blown leads in the regular season were blamed on tedium, implying that things would change when the real season started.

The real season is underway, and the Warriors lasted less than seven quarters before looking like a team far worse than the sum of its parts. Getting it back is possible, but after a loss of this magnitude, how can anyone be sure?

Mychal Mulder shares details of night Warriors offered 10-day contract

Mychal Mulder shares details of night Warriors offered 10-day contract

On Feb. 25, 2020, former Warriors guard Jarrett Jack made a free throw with one second remaining to lift the Sioux Falls Skyforce to a 100-99 win over the Austin Spurs in an intense G League battle.

Sioux Falls shooting guard Mychal Mulder did not have a memorable performance -- 11 points (4-for-12 overall, 2-for-10 3s), nine rebounds, one assist, two steals and two turnovers in over 32 minutes of action.

But his life changed forever later that night when he got a call from Kent Lacob of the Golden State Warriors.

"We just got done playing a game maybe a couple hours before, and I had a couple of my teammates at the house," Mulder explained to SportsByline. "We were just hanging around playing "UNO" (the card game) -- normal decompression stuff like that. Just hanging out, talking about the game -- it was close. Jarrett Jack actually game'd it for us -- winning on a free throw.

"And we're all just sitting there talking about that, and my phone rings from a number I didn't recognize so I didn't answer it. And then I got a text that was like, 'Hey Mike. This is Kent (Lacob) from Golden State. Sorry to call you so late but it's time-sensitive so give me a shout when you can.' Obviously I picked my phone up immediately and called.

"He's like, 'I have some good news for you.' And I just started smiling immediately because him calling my phone already is good news to me. There couldn't have been any negative aspect to that. So when he said they were ready to offer a 10-day (contract), that was something that was really satisfying for me -- a moment that I had been waiting on since I turned pro.

"To have it be with the Golden State Warriors -- it couldn't have been a better fit. Me and my teammates were in the house yelling and getting excited. And then I got to call my parents and tell them I finally got the call. That was special and I don't think I'll ever forget that."

Mulder certainly made the most of his opportunity.

After a non-descript NBA debut vs. the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 27, he averaged 14.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists over the next five games, while shooting 40 percent from 3-point territory.

The 25-year-old was rewarded with a contract through the remainder of the season -- plus non-guarantees in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

[RELATED: Paschall refuses to bash Kerr when baited by Jefferson]

Unfortunately, the NBA season was suspended just before the Warriors were about to play road games against the Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons. Mulder grew up just outside the "Motor City."

"He finally made it and we were getting ready to play games in Toronto and Detroit -- where he was gonna have tons of family -- and celebrate his accomplishments," coach Steve Kerr said two weeks ago. "He was having the time of his life."

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Eric Paschall won't trash talk Steve Kerr when Richard Jefferson baits

Eric Paschall won't trash talk Steve Kerr when Richard Jefferson baits

Former Warriors forward Richard Jefferson tried to get Golden State rookie Eric Paschall into some trouble.

How do we know that?

Because this hit Twitter on Tuesday afternoon:

Here's the transcript:

Jefferson: "Is Steve Kerr as annoying as he seems?"

Paschall: "What you mean?"

Jefferson: "He just seems really, really annoying."

Paschall: "Why you say that?"

Jefferson: "I've just never liked him. I played against him as a player -- in the NBA Finals when he was with the Spurs. Then he was the head coach of the Warriors -- and just to me, he seems super, super annoying."

Paschall: "I don't think he's annoying. I think he's a great dude."

Jefferson: "Really?"

Paschall: "(laughter) Yo, you're not gonna try to play this game with me (laughter)."

Jefferson (after erupting with laughter): "Steve Kerr -- he's an Arizona guy. That's my Wildcat brother. I was just messing with you (laughter)."

Paschall: "Yo, this man trying to get me to say something crazy (laughing). I ain't falling for the okie-doke (laughter)."

Jefferson: "It was a test and you passed!"

Just last week, Paschall explained why he loves playing for Kerr.

"He's very laid back. Knows the game. I think that he was a player himself helps out a lot because he understands what we are going through in every type of way.

"Having somebody like him as our coach is great, and I appreciate everything he's doing and done for me so far."

Kerr played at Arizona from 1983 to 1988 -- helping the Wildcats reach the Final Four his senior season.

Jefferson played at Arizona from 1998 to 2001 -- helping the Wildcats reach the national title game his junior season.

[RELATED: Dubs' Paschall misses hoops, posts video dunking on Harden]

Lastly, here's a random Arizona tangent:

Sorry, Channing. Had to do it.

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