Warriors

Warriors' mistakes doom any chance of win in Damian Lillard's big night

Warriors' mistakes doom any chance of win in Damian Lillard's big night

PORTLAND -- In the final minute of Monday's matchup against the Trail Blazers, Warriors guard Alec Burks hit two free throws to put the Warriors up three points and in position for their 11th victory.

But 10 seconds later, Blazers guard Damian Lillard made a 3-pointer  to tie the game. D'Angelo Russell then missed a contested 3-pointer, sending the game into an overtime in which the Warriors were outscored 16-11, prompting another loss for the NBA's worst team. 

For a unit with winning ambitions, they've become especially creative in fading in clutch moments. On a night Lillard needed a career-high and an extra session to beat the battered Warriors, Golden State sees the loss as a game botched by untimely mistakes. 

"It was a game that got away from us," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said following the 124-129 loss. 

Three hours before Kerr's declaration, a win seemed feasible. In the second quarter, the Warriors held the Blazers to just 27 percent from the field, taking a 12-point lead, despite playing with only eight players. As the Warriors succeeded, Alec Burks shined, scoring 33 points with seven rebounds and eight assists. Along the way, mistakes crippled chances to blow the game open. 

When the Warriors went up 44-35 with four minutes left in the half, Damion Lee fouled Lillard behind the 3-point line, prompting three free throws. Fifteen seconds later, Eric Paschall fouled Mario Hezonja, leading to two more free throws. By the end of the second quarter, a 10-point lead was cut to four.  

More troubling was Golden State's late-game execution. After taking a six-point lead in overtime, the Blazers ended the evening on a 14-3 run as Lillard swished in his 61st point with four seconds left. At night's end, the Blazers made 27 free throws, 16 of which came from Lillard, much to Kerr's chagrin. 

"The game was there for the taking," Kerr said. "You could feel it in the first half. That game was right there for us. You've got to be better. Our effort was good but our execution was not." 

Kerr's frustrations are legitimate and derive from a troubling trend. Of the team's last 11 losses, three have come despite the team leading in the fourth quarter. Dating back to last season, the Warriors have lost their last nine overtime games. 

Five days ago, the team lost to the Nuggets in overtime despite entering the fourth quarter with a 12-point lead. Over the final two quarters, Golden State was outscored 61-46. Six days before the loss to Denver, the Warriors were outscored 36-17 in the fourth quarter by the Clippers, losing their seventh straight.

Following his team's latest demise, Kerr passed blame around the locker room. 

"A lot of mistakes down the stretch in the second quarter and again down the stretch -- a lot at the end of the game and regulation and overtime," he said. "And I didn't help the guys much, I could've helped the guys out as well. It was a group effort. They're competing, they're playing together, they're playing hard. It's just frustrating."

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A silver lining in Golden State's troubles can be seen along its sidelines Friday evening. With franchise pillar Steph Curry in a suit and former All-Star Draymond Green on the end of the bench, the listless Warriors nearly pushed Portland to the brink. But, as Kerr and his team know well, success is measured by wins over development. 

"I think we played well," Warriors forward Marquese Chriss said. "There are little things that we can fix that might change the way that the game turned out. All we can do at this point is to learn from it and talk about it and try not to let it happen again." 

Steph Curry, daughters soak in Sabrina Ionescu’s latest triple-double

Steph Curry, daughters soak in Sabrina Ionescu’s latest triple-double

Steph Curry has followed Sabrina Ionescu since her junior year of high school in Orinda. So naturally, when the University of Oregon basketball star returned to the Bay for the final time in her collegiate career Friday night, the Warriors star went to Haas Pavilion to watch her and the Ducks face the Cal Bears.

After Ionescu registered her seventh of the season and the 25th triple-double of her career in Oregon's 93-61 win, GOAT met GOAT, along with two special guests -- Curry's daughters, Riley and Ryan.

Curry clearly is a fan of Ionescu, who dropped 17 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in Berkeley. She is nine rebounds away from becoming college basketball’s first 2,000-point, 1,000-rebound, 1,000-assist player.

"Everything," Curry told Pac-12 Network's Kate Scott when asked what has impressed him about Ionescu since he first learned of her. "It's hard to pick one thing. Just her passion for the game, her leadership. She has got that winning mentality, and every night, she just appreciates being out on the floor and bringing it.

"She makes her teammates better but still plays her own game. The triple-doubles are nice, too, but she just has it all."

"Stats, they mean a lot," Curry added, "but when you get to watch somebody -- and, like I said, the passion that she brings, it's in her eyes. The competitive nature that she has, you can't teach that. She could be blessed with all the talent in the world, but if she didn't have that, she wouldn't be who she was."

Curry had great seats on the baseline at Haas, but he wasn't alone. He had his two daughters taking it all in with him.

"This is a pretty awesome experience," Curry said of being there with his daughters. "This is their first women's basketball game, so I'm excited to share that with them. Riley has been asking about it all day. 'When are we going? When are we going?' So, hopefully Sabrina teaches her something."

Curry isn't certain his daughters will follow in his own footsteps, but he believes they can learn plenty from Ionescu, both on and off the court.

"I think it's important in terms of role models that they can look up to," Curry described the gravity of Ionescu's impact. "I don't know if they're going to play basketball or not, but if they do, then I'm definitely going to put on some Sabrina clips and let them know this is how you play the game the right way."

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Steph won't have to search long for those clips. As impressive as she has been, Ionescu is just getting started.

Mic'd-up Ky Bowman brings fun, passion to recent Santa Cruz Warriors practice

Mic'd-up Ky Bowman brings fun, passion to recent Santa Cruz Warriors practice

The Warriors are in the midst of one of the worst seasons in franchise history, currently averaging nearly four losses for every win. They only have two winning "streaks" so far, and in the face of constant losing, it would be completely understandable if the team's morale suffered.

Yes, there have been extended periods throughout the course of the season during which Golden State has hung its heads. After all, this is a stark contrast to the reality the franchise has recently become used to. But, thanks to an influx of new players, most of which are young and fighting for their NBA opportunities, the Warriors have managed to have plenty of fun amid all the losses.

Given what Ky Bowman said while mic'd up at a recent Santa Cruz Warriors practice, and it's easy to see why.

Have a look for yourself in the video at the top of the page.

He doesn't ever seem to slow down or stop talking, and it sure looks like his enthusiasm is contagious. Bowman has gone back and forth between Golden State and Santa Cruz this year, and he brings that lively spirit with him wherever he goes.

Thanks to his own determination, the hope is that he won't be making that trip much more often. After going undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft, Bowman signed a two-way deal with Golden State. However, he outperformed that, and the Warriors signed him to a standard, multi-year NBA contract on Feb. 7.

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Bowman appears to be a part of the Warriors' future, which should include plenty more laughs.