OAKLAND – The Warriors spent much of regulation Thursday night wobbling and staggering and stumbling, at times looking like the hapless Washington Generals of Globetrotters fame.
They kept getting up, and the Portland Trail Blazers kept putting them back down until the horn sounded and the Warriors came away 110-109 losers at Oracle Arena.
Portland won it after stealing a Stephen Curry pass and converting it into a game-winning 3-point shot by Damian Lillard.
Here are three takeaways from Portland’s first win in Oakland since Nov. 23, 2013:
These Warriors have never looked so . . . lost
The Warriors spent much of regulation delivering a smorgasbord of follies last night, nearly all of it on offense.
A Draymond Green pass bounces off Klay Thompson’s head. A Stephen Curry pass goes over Kevin Durant’s head and out of bounds. A Green dunk clangs off the back of the rim. Thompson misses two open 3-pointers on the same possession and neither was particularly close.
They missed nine of their first 10 free throws, finishing 6-of-15. They missed 31 of their 44 3-pointers.
They twice botched 2-on-1 fast breaks.
When Curry attempted an out-of-bounds lob to Andre Iguodala with .2 seconds left in regulation, the pass went through the hoop. Turnover.
Add it all up, and that’s how the defending champions went down to the wire and into OT against an opponent shooting 36.2 percent from the field.
The “Ignore Draymond” defense is a thing
NBA teams are routinely daring Green to shoot from beyond the arc and he hasn’t been making them pay.
The Jazz did it and it worked. The Mavericks did it, even after made his first one. The Clippers did it, the Lakers did it and the Blazers did it Thursday night. At one point in the second quarter, as the ball reached Green at the top of the arc, Portland big man Jusuf Nurkic not only didn’t bother leaving the paint but turned around to await the rebound.
Green missed the open 3, but nine seconds later dropped in a short floater. He burned the Blazers in that instance, even though they saved a point.
Green’s inability to make open 3s does two things hurts the Warriors in two ways: It disrupts their offensive flow, and it gives the defense a 5-on-4 advantage.
Green burned them in OT, drilling a 3 from the corner to give the Warriors a 109-107 lead with 51 seconds play before Portland came back for the win.
The shrinking rotation
The Warriors continue to distance themselves from the strength in numbers motto, as they went through the thick of the game with an eight-man rotation.
In a 53-minute game, Alfonzo McKinnie and Quinn Cook got three minutes each and Jordan Bell got one.
Durant played 41 minutes, finishing with a triple-double: 26 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. He missed the final shot in OT, a contested midrange jumper than bounced off the rim and out.
Green also played 41 minutes, totaling 8 points 11 rebounds and seven assists. Curry played 42 and Thompson 39.
This might be the way Kerr plays it until the Warriors find some rhythm and start stacking up victories.