Warriors takeaways: What we learned in blowout 129-112 loss to Rockets

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in blowout 129-112 loss to Rockets


HOUSTON -- The Rockets-Warriors rivalry has long been among the NBA's best. 

At the moment, it seems the battle is dormant, as evidenced by Golden State's 129-112 loss to Houston on Wednesday night. 

The young Warriors put up a fight early, shooting 50 percent from the field in the first quarter. However, after a Rockets' blitz over the next 12 minutes, the outcome was never in doubt.

Without Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, more of these games are expected from the Warriors, as they're forced to prioritize growth and development over wins. 

Here are three takeaways from Golden State's latest loss.  

Paschall struggles 

Entering Wednesday, Warriors rookie Eric Paschall had been averaging nearly 30 points and eight rebounds over his last two games. The trend didn't continue against the Rockets, as he finished with 19 points on just 6-of-14 shooting from the field. 

Much of Paschall's problems came at the hands of PJ Tucker, who took the primary defensive assignment on Golden State's rookie. 

He did have his moments, though, including a baseline slam in the second quarter that put the Warriors up four points. 

Wednesday's game was a reminder of Paschall's current place in the league. Though he's been successful in recent games, teams are now scouting him as Golden State's primary scorer. Over time, he will have to adjust through film work and practice, something the Warriors are confident will happen. 

Second quarter of doom

While Paschall struggled, his biggest contribution might have been for the other team. Following an and-1 in the second half over Rockets guard James Harden, the rookie walked to Golden State's bench and yelled, "He's food!" before making the ensuing free throw. 

Harden and the Rockets responded with a 23-8 run to close the half, outscoring the Warriors 33-23 in the second quarter. By halftime, Harden had scored 20 of his game-high 36 points. 

While Paschall's comments might have sparked the Houston outburst, the Rockets' performance was expected considering the talent gap between the two teams. So Paschall and the Warriors will have to charge this one to the mismatch.  

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Another bad shooting night for Poole

Entering Wednesday, Jordan Poole was shooting 26 percent from the field. His luck didn't get any better by end of the night, as Poole finished just 2-of-11 from the field against the Rockets, scoring just eight points. 

Dating back to his college career, Poole has never been shy about chucking, regardless of what his shooting percentage is. That quality is admired by both players and coaches alike within the organization. Coach Steve Kerr has said that he has full confidence in the rookie's shot, no matter how accurate it is at the moment. 

Going forward, Poole's task will be to reward his team's trust and put the ball in the hoop.

Warriors follow Draymond Green's lead in willing team to win vs. Bulls

Warriors follow Draymond Green's lead in willing team to win vs. Bulls

Throughout his career, Draymond Green simultaneously has been Golden State's emotional leader and one of its best players. 

On teams featuring Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, Green consistently was the team's emotional heartbeat, occasionally willing his squads to unforeseen victories in standout performances that didn't necessarily reflect on the stat sheet. 

The latest example of Green's impact came in the last 12 minutes of Friday's 100-98 win over the Bulls, when he passed, defended and guided the Warriors to their fifth win of the season. 

A glimpse of Green's impact came four seconds before the final frame began when Golden State coach Steve Kerr substituted Green for Jordan Poole. On the next play, Green switched onto Bulls guard Coby White, forcing an off-balance miss. Four minutes into the fourth quarter -- with Golden State down 89-84 -- he successfully contested a Tomas Satoransky jump shot, leading to a fastbreak opportunity. Four minutes later, Green received a pass from guard D'Angelo Russell, drove the lane and found center Willie Cauley Stein for a dunk. With a minute left and the game tied at 98, he found Glenn Robinson III for another lob dunk to help seal the victory. 

Green -- who finished with nine points, five rebounds and four steals -- was responsible for 10 of the team's 23 fourth-quarter points, helping the Warriors outscore Chicago by eight points in the final frame. 

"Our defensive pressure picked up," Green explained after the win. "I think down the stretch in games, you have to do that. There have been games this year where teams have put pressure on us and we didn't respond well. I think tonight we were the aggressors and it worked out in our favor."

"He made great plays down the stretch," Robinson said of Green. "He got down on the floor for loose balls. He got us going, his talk, his communication. You always want a player like that the floor, directing things."

Green's performance came at a particular time of peril for Golden State. With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson out of the lineup, the Warriors are one of the league's worst teams. In their last four games entering Friday night, they had been outscored by 61 points, including a 106-91 blowout loss to Charlotte on Wednesday. 

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Worse, Green's play has followed suit. Over his previous nine appearances, he had shot just 38.5 percent from the field while dealing with a myriad of injuries. On Friday, both he and his team found their stride. 

"We played the whole game hard," Warriors forward Eric Paschall said. "I felt like as a team, that's a big step for us after the last two games. We felt like we didn't compete at a high level. I felt like it was real good for us just in terms of coming out with a win."

Golden State's season has been new territory for Green. Since entering the NBA, he has never missed the playoffs, but with the Warriors' star-studded cast out for an extended time, that streak is expected to end. That makes Friday's act of leadership all the more important going forward. 

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in inspiring 100-98 win over Bulls

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in inspiring 100-98 win over Bulls


Too bad the Warriors can't play the Bulls every night. 

In their latest outing, the Warriors beat Chicago 100-98, sweeping the season series against Chicago while avoiding a winless five-game road trip. 

After Warriors coach Steve Kerr lamented his team's uninspired play, Golden State put together its best effort in nearly a week. 

The Warriors aren't going to beat most teams on talent like recent years. In order to have a chance on a nightly basis, they'll have to play as hard as they did Friday night at United Center. 

Here are the takeaways:

All heart

In the days leading up Chicago, Kerr was critical of his team's hustle and spirit. Against the Bulls, the Warriors got the hint, highlighted by a 16-5 run to start the second quarter. Golden State shot 57 percent from the field in the frame, helping the team get within one point at halftime. 

Similar efforts were littered throughout the game. When the Bulls went up seven, the Warriors went on a 14-5 run to take a brief lead. Eric Paschall continued his stellar rookie season, scoring 13 points, adding three rebounds and two assists. 

As they grow, the Warriors will continue to learn lessons during their transition. The one constant will have to be the effort they showed Friday. 

Too many miscues

Golden State's response to Kerr's demand would've been smoother with better control of the basketball. The Warriors committed 11 of their game-high 19 turnovers in the first half. 

Entering Friday, Chicago was among the stingiest teams in the league, forcing 18 turnovers per game.

Turnovers are a function of undisciplined play. The Warriors' youth was on display, and they were fortunate to get the win.

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Robinson drilling III's

In a game the Warriors needed an extra scoring punch, they got it from Robinson, who scored 20 points, including two 3-pointers. After struggling at the beginning of the season, Robinson has come alive in recent games. 

Over his last eight outings, he's averaging 13.6 points while shooting 41.4 percent from 3-point range. 

If Robinson can keep this up, he will force his way into Golden State's future plans.