Warriors expect to fix 'glaring issues' in Game 4 vs Blazers


Warriors expect to fix 'glaring issues' in Game 4 vs Blazers

PORTLAND – After scouring the video of their Game 3 loss to the Trail Blazers, the Warriors came away unimpressed not with only with their effort but also with how casually they dismissed their offensive principles.

They looked, quite frankly, more like the Kobe Bryant Lakers of a couple years ago, with Klay Thompson in the role of Kobe.

This is not, for the Warriors, a good look. And it’s something they’ve set a goal of fixing before Monday night, when Game 4 is tipped off at Moda Center.

“There were some glaring issues that we had, basically related to energy and effort,” center Andrew Bogut said after practice Sunday. “We can fix that pretty easily. And then, make a couple adjustments offensively. We’ve got to move the ball more; that’s something that coach harped on.”

Poor ball movement is among the pet peeves of coach Steve Kerr. With the exception of silly turnovers, lack of ball movement may be the most annoying characteristic the Warriors can exhibit. And it was on full display in Game 3.

[RELATED: Curry doubtful for Game 4: 'Slowly but surely making progress']

Thompson got hot in the first quarter and basically decided to shoot every chance he could. It seemed to make sense. He scored 18 points in the quarter on 7-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. But his teammates had only limited involvement and, frankly, never seemed to find any rhythm over the final three quarters.

Thompson, who managed one assist over is 38 minutes, acknowledged that ball movement is one of the keys to the team’s success, regardless of whether Stephen Curry plays.

“It’s huge,” Thompson said. “We watched the film and we didn’t look like ourselves.

“But it’s a long playoff run. There’s going to be lapses. We’ve got to learn from it.”

That’s where the Warriors are as they go to work for Game 4. With a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, and a six-point lead in the first quarter of Game 3, they were struck by a touch of complacency. It showed, giving Portland an opening.

“We had an opportunity early in the game to take advantage and we didn’t do that,” point guard Shaun Livingston said. “We gave them some life. I expect us to come out hungrier on Monday.

“We didn’t play with that sense of desperation,” he added. “It’s the playoffs, and we’ve got to have more fight – all of us. We had certain good individual performances, but we didn’t bring it as a team.”

Those “good” individual performances were, for the most part, restricted to Draymond Green’s offense and Klay Thompson’s shooting.

The Warriors were caught a step slow or completely flat-footed when the Blazers seemed constantly in motion. The Warriors did not score a single fast-break basket.

“We got outplayed, outhustled,” Kerr said. “We didn’t trust each other enough moving the ball and we didn’t deserve to win.”

[RATTO: Be thankful Warriors aren't pushing Willis Reed moment on Curry]

Will it change in Game 4? The Warriors insist it will, beginning with offensive movement designed make Blazers guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum expend an inordinate amount of energy on defense.

The Blazers basically played seven players, as starting forward Maurice Harkless was limited to less than seven minutes due to soreness in his right hip. He is listed as probable for Game 4.

Lillard and McCollum each played 42 minutes – more than anybody else on either team – yet, showing no sign of fatigue, combined to shoot 8-of-11 in the fourth quarter.

“We really didn’t make them work that much” Thompson said. “For a team that plays a lot of guys 40 minutes, we’ve got to make them work and use the whole floor on defense because that’s going to take away some of their energy on offense. That’s what Steve was pointing out.”

Six under-radar free agents Warriors could pursue signing in offseason

Six under-radar free agents Warriors could pursue signing in offseason

The Warriors need to shore up their depth at key positions if they intend to make a run at the NBA title next season.

If Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are healthy next season, the front office will have to mix and match with what they already have filling out the roster, bringing in new additions with limited money to spend.The Warriors will only have the taxpayer mid-level exception and minimum contracts at their disposal to hand out to unrestricted free agents.

We already examined the guards, wings and big men who clearly could interest the Warriors. But what about the free agents who might not immediately catch your eye?

With limited salary-cap room at their disposal, perhaps those are the exact type of players the Warriors should pursue.


NBA rumors: Warriors wouldn't have let Steph Curry play in Orlando

NBA rumors: Warriors wouldn't have let Steph Curry play in Orlando

The NBA reportedly is considering creating a second "bubble" in Chicago for the eight teams that were not included in the Orlando bubble as part of the league's expanded playoff format. Warriors general manager Bob Myers said Thursday that Golden State potentially would participate, despite coach Steve Kerr previously insisting that the Dubs would not be interested in such a setup.

It remains to be seen if the second bubble actually will take place, but even if it does, it sure seems like you won't be seeing Steph Curry play in it. ESPN's Jackie MacMullan reported he wouldn't have played in Orlando had the Warriors qualified, and it begs the question as to why Chicago would be any different.

"I was told unequivocally by people at Golden State," MacMullan said Thursday on the "Hoop Collective" podcast, "if Golden State came back (to play in Orlando) they weren't gonna let Steph Curry step foot on the floor."

"The reason they were worried about Steph Curry," MacMullan added, "was because they didn't feel that he had played enough to come back."

So, there you have it. The Warriors arguably would have very little to gain from participating in the Chicago bubble, and given that there is no championship at stake -- like there is in Orlando -- Golden State doesn't have much motivation to send its star veteran players, especially those that are returning from injury.

Curry played in precisely one of the Warriors' final 61 games before the season was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic after returning from a broken wrist. And if he isn't going to play, you can bet Klay Thompson -- who would be returning from a torn ACL -- won't either.

[RELATED: Stephen A believes Warriors will return to title contention]

Draymond Green previously said that he would have played in Orlando, but if the Splash Brothers are out, why would Golden State risk the health of the other remaining piece of its championship core?

The Warriors need to find a way to stay in basketball shape and continue developing chemistry over what is going to be an extremely long layoff before the start of next season. But if Curry, Thompson and Green aren't involved, then that kind of ruins the whole point.

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