Warriors' new normal to give fans something they haven't seen in years

Warriors' new normal to give fans something they haven't seen in years

SAN FRANCISCO – The Warriors have 81 games remaining on the schedule, so they can take a modicum of comfort in knowing they will not always look as overmatched as they did on opening night at Chase Center.

They’ll get better, and perhaps all of their opponents will be worse than the deep and splendid Los Angeles Clippers, who might be the best team in the NBA.

But, honestly, there will be other games when they will look helpless, games with at least some resemblance to the 141-122 pummeling they absorbed from the Clippers on Thursday night.

“We just got crushed tonight,” Draymond Green said.

“We f--king sucked.”

There will be more games when their leaky defense is sliced and diced, allowing an avalanche of easy buckets, as the Clippers enjoyed.

There will be games when their offense simply is unable to survive eight turnovers by Steph Curry, as was the case Thursday night.

“It’s one of 82,” Curry said. “But there are some glaring things that we need to correct if we’re going to win basketball games consistently.”

Then, too, there are going to be games when the Warriors dash and splash and make some arrogant squad pay a steep price for presuming victory.

But Warriors fans who have grown accustomed to their favorite team winning, often with style, must now accept the unvarnished truth. This season will be unlike anything they’ve seen since Steve Kerr took over as coach in 2014. Unlike anything they saw in Mark Jackson’s last two seasons as coach.

“This is more the reality of the NBA,” Kerr said. “The last five years we’ve been living in a world that isn’t supposed to exist. Five years, basically, record-wise, the best stretch anybody has had over five years. This is reality.”

The Warriors are transitioning from a team built to win championships to one learning how to win in the regular season. They’ve gone from wonderful to hopeful, from a direct line to June to a treacherous path to April.

And it’s going to be tough for fans to accept. They didn’t on Thursday, fleeing for the exits late in the third quarter, with the Warriors trailing by 28 and no hope of a comeback.

This season will be more like those in which Antawn Jamison or Jason Richardson or Monta Ellis might go off. More like the back-to-back competitive teams that Baron Davis led to 42 wins and the playoffs in 2007 and 48 wins and no playoffs the following season.

More like what the Warriors sold in those seasons when they were hoping to reach the postseason or at least go .500.

The Warriors shot 39.4 percent, the Clippers 62.5. The Warriors dropped to 35.7 percent beyond the arc, the Clippers scorched at 56.2 percent. The Warriors won the rebounding battle (42-39) and committed fewer turnovers (13-20), but their efficiency was miles beneath that of the Clippers.

“Credit the Clippers,” Curry said. “They came off a pretty hard-fought, intense battle in LA in (on beating the Lakers on Tuesday). So, they were battle-tested in terms of being in that situation. They started that first six minutes with that same intensity. We fought our way back into it, made it interesting.

“And then they hit us with our typical third quarter.”

LA blasted away for 46 points in the third quarter, burying the Warriors.

Curry had allowed himself, subconsciously, to reminisce. There were many times over the past five seasons when the Warriors used the third quarter to blow away an opponent. It was their magical 12 minutes and it happened often enough to anticipate.

[RELATED: Chuck tells Klay to his face that Dubs won't make playoffs]

Those days are gone. Those third quarters will not be typical of this team.

Nothing will be typical except a near-equal amount of winning and losing, frustrating nights followed by refreshing ones. It is, indeed, the new normal.

Steph Curry omits LeBron James, Kevin Durant from all-time starting five

Steph Curry omits LeBron James, Kevin Durant from all-time starting five

When Stephen Curry's career is all said and done, there's a good chance many of the current younger generations of NBA fans will include him in their all-time starting five. They have seen the game evolve in front of their very own eyes, and no player was more responsible for that transition than the greatest shooter ever.

But Curry's career isn't over yet. Not even close. And as things currently stand, even he wouldn't include himself in his all-time starting five.

On the most recent episode of Showtime's "All the Smoke" with Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes, Curry was asked which five players he would nominate for that lofty designation, and it's pretty tough to disagree with his selections.

Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Tim Duncan and Shaquille O'Neal? Safe to say that squad would be tough to beat. Of course, if there's one thing that five-man unit is lacking, it's probably a lack of perimeter shooting. Maybe that's how Curry eventually fits in.

It's worth noting that Curry didn't include LeBron James on his list. Of course, if reported rivalries are to be believed, perhaps that explains the omission. Same goes for Kevin Durant, who recently left Curry out of his top-six hardest players to guard in the league. Are these sour grapes being thrown back and forth?

[RELATED: Steph admits he wanted Knicks to draft him instead of Dubs]

It's certainly possible in the modern NBA, but a far more likely explanation is that James and Durant, like Curry, aren't finished yet.

Warriors send Jacob Evans down to G League in order to regain rhythm

Warriors send Jacob Evans down to G League in order to regain rhythm

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jacob Evans has held out hope for improvement for much of the season. For the time being, he'll try to reach the goal in the G League.

The Warriors guard's latest odyssey to Santa Cruz is expected to last until Sunday, providing Evans an opportunity to get more on-court time during an injury-plagued season. 

"This will give him a chance to play bigger minutes," Warriors coach Steve Kerr. "To develop a rhythm."

With the demotion, Evans will miss Friday's matchup against the Indiana Pacers in San Francisco. Instead, he will play Friday evening against the Wisconsin Herd at Kaiser Permanente Arena and Sunday's matchup against the South Bay Lakers. He'll then rejoin the Warriors on the team's upcoming five-game road trip, which starts Tuesday against the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Evans' second season in the NBA has been marred by injury.  A week into the season, he strained his left adductor, costing him 21 games. Last week, he missed three more games after suffering a concussion. All the while, he's shooting just 31 percent from the field and has been supplanted in the rotation by rookie Jordan Poole.

"These last few weeks have been tough, even before injury," Kerr said. He hasn't really been able to get himself going, we haven't been able to help him get going. We feel like this is a perfect time for him to get some playing time."

[RELATED: Warriors' Paschall credits rise to Jay Wright at 'Coaching Corps']

Evans was drafted in 2018 for his defensive acumen. He's struggled to find offensive success this season, averaging just four points despite averaging 10 more minutes per game. However, Kerr remains confident in Evans' long-term development. 

"He's a big, strong, smart defender. He's picked up a lot in his year and a half in the league," Kerr said. "So he's a guy I can trust and count on defensively. But like everybody in this disjointed season, it's been tough for him to find a niche."