Warriors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 129-121 Game 5 loss vs. Clippers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 129-121 Game 5 loss vs. Clippers

OAKLAND -- Even as Steve Kerr spent three days talking about the difficulties the Warriors would face in trying to oust the Clippers from the NBA playoffs, he could not have imagined what transpired Wednesday night.

This was Los Angeles performing surgery without anesthesia, and the Warriors came away with a painful 129-121 loss in Game 5 of this first-round series.

The Warriors own a three-games-to-two series lead as the teams go back to Los Angeles for Game 6 on Friday night at Staples Center.

Here are three takeaways from the game at Oracle Arena:

The defense rested

For a team on a quest to play into June, the Warriors in this game looked a lot like a bunch ready to go on vacation before May.

This was profoundly obvious on defense, where they were by turns sloppy, indifferent, inattentive and simply less determined than the Clippers were on offense. It was so bad at times that you wondered if they’d watched any video.

Guard Lou Williams, under wraps in Games 3 and 4, scored 18 points in the first half and 33 for the game. Forward Danilo Gallinari, contained all series, scored 16 points in the first half and 26 for the game. Patrick Beverley, known mostly for his defense, totaled 17 points.

The Warriors last season amped up their defense in the playoffs. With a chance to put away the Clippers, they couldn’t seem to find the energy. Los Angeles shot 54.1 percent from the field.

Look no further to discern how the Warriors lost this one.

Pounded in the paint

The Clippers shot reasonably well from deep (13 of 34), but they didn’t have to rely on that because they had plenty of success attacking the paint.

LA piled up 54 points in the paint (the Warriors had 34), with hyperactive Montrezl Harrell (24 points, 11-of-14 shooting from the field) continuing his ferocious work inside. Williams also torched the Warriors with his drives and floaters.

The Clippers dominated the glass for most of the night before ending with a 42-39 advantage, with Beverley -- a tenacious 6-foot-1 -- snagging a game-high 11 rebounds.

Don’t blame KD

If you’re looking for a Warriors bright spot, turn to Kevin Durant. He was mostly solid on defense but nothing short of fantastic on offense.

Durant scored 45 points on 14-of-26 shooting, including 5 of 12 from beyond the arc and 12 of 12 from the line. Over the course of the game, he lit up JaMychal Green, Landry Shamet, Beverley and Gallinari.

For the heck of it, Durant also had six rebounds and six assists.

What he didn’t have was enough help.

Warriors' Steve Kerr says trade rumors don't affect D'Angelo Russell

Warriors' Steve Kerr says trade rumors don't affect D'Angelo Russell

D'Angelo Russell is rapidly approaching a date some NBA observers have circled since the Warriors acquired him this summer.

Golden State can trade Russell as soon as Sunday, Dec. 15, and the 23-year-old has been the source of trade speculation during his time in the Bay Area. The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski reported Wednesday, citing sources that the Minnesota Timberwolves "remain interested in Russell" and that the guard "seems to be realistic in understanding that he may not be long for the Warriors once Steph Curry and Klay Thompson return to full health."

Russell is averaging a career-high 22.4 points per game this season to go with 6.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds, serving as the top offensive option in the absence of his All-Star teammates. He knew he wouldn't play much with Thompson this season as he recovers from a torn ACL, but Curry's broken hand threw a wrench into the Warriors' -- and thus Russell's -- prospects this season. Warriors coach Steve Kerr praised how Russell has handled the rumors surrounding him. 

"Money doesn't buy peace of mind," Kerr said Friday morning (H/T San Francisco Chronicle's Connor Letourneau). "It doesn't buy a sense of belonging, a sense of, 'Alright, this is my team.' If there's speculation that you're going to be traded all the time, I don't care how much money you make, I don't care who you are. That's tough. That's no fun to deal with, and this season has been nowhere close to what D'Angelo thought it would be when he first signed with us.

"There's no Steph. We're struggling to win games. He's had his own injuries, and we're throwing all kinds of different lineups out there based on the other injuries we've faced." 

Russell has played in just 15 of the Warriors' 27 games this season, playing on a team that looks far more like the Los Angeles Lakers of his first two seasons than the playoff-contending Brooklyn Nets a year ago -- let alone the reigning Western Conference champion Warriors. 

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Kerr, who entered this season with the highest winning percentage in NBA history (.785), is as aware of Golden State's dramatically different reality as anyone. He said it has only brought out the best in Russell. 

"So given all that, he's played really well, and he's been a great teammate and he's doing everything he needs to do to solidify his position here," Kerr continued. "But this is the NBA here, and we never know what's coming, what's happening. So, it's a difficult position to be in in general, but for him in particular it's strange set of circumstances and he's handling it really well." 

Whether or not the Warriors trade Russell, it's clear Kerr holds him in high regard. 

Watch Warriors' Ky Bowman dominate for Santa Cruz in G League debut

Watch Warriors' Ky Bowman dominate for Santa Cruz in G League debut

Warriors two-way guard Ky Bowman made his G League debut Friday night in Santa Cruz.

He dominated the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario. 

The Boston College product could have scored 40 points if he really wanted to, but he picked his spots and made sure his teammates were getting good looks.

After shootaround in Utah on Friday, Warriors coach Steve Kerr was asked what Bowman can work on while he's with the Sea Dubs.

"He's got a really aggressive mindset -- which I like -- but there are still circumstances and situations where he needs to think more pass," Kerr said. "And more strategic, rather than just score, score, score."

Bowman clearly listened to the eight-time NBA champion.

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Also, "Sky Bowman" was on full display.

The 22-year-old will be back in action Sunday afternoon as Santa Cruz faces the Northern Arizona Suns. Watch the game at 2:00 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area.

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