Warriors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in lopsided 128-95 loss to Celtics

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in lopsided 128-95 loss to Celtics

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OAKLAND – It was a popular projection as the NBA Finals, the Warriors from the Western Conference and the Boston Celtics from the Eastern. Made sense in September.

It still could happen, but there is no chance of the Warriors reaching The Finals if they’re going to deliver stinkers such as their 128-95 loss to the Celtics on Tuesday at Oracle Arena.

How bad was it? Aside from five minutes from DeMarcus Cousins, the Warriors played reserves the entire fourth quarter as fans streamed toward the exits.

The Warriors (44-20) lost for the third time in four games, while the previously troubled Celtics (39-26) won for only the second time in seven games.

Here are three takeaways from a game in which the Warriors barely showed up:

From trend to habit

Coach Steve Kerr expressed a note of caution before tipoff, citing body-clock challenges in the first game back after a week-long road trip and the need to execute and the desire to limit turnovers.

Maybe the coach knew something. For the fourth consecutive game, the Warriors started at a snail’s pace while the opponent was sprinting, Boston built leads of 11-0 in the first quarter, 40-24 early in the second and 73-48 at the half.

The Warriors were careless on offense, giving the Celtics 17 first-half points with 12 turnovers. They were also scattered on defense, as Boston shot 63 percent.

Great teams don’t make a habit of early indifference. The Warriors, quite simply, are not playing great basketball. If they don’t fix this, it will cost them.

No ‘D’ in Warriors

Year after year, assistant coach Ron Adams is voted by league general managers as the best assistant the NBA. His focus is defense and he’s good at it.

Or, maybe, he was.

The Warriors were taken to school by Boston’s dazzling ball movement and nonstop player movement. There were times it appeared to be synchronized, with blind passes going to the exact right place, at the right moment. The Warriors kept being befuddled, and Boston kept getting open looks.

The Celtics recorded 23 assists in the first half and finished with a season-high (38). A ragtag fourth quarter brought their numbers down to 51 percent from the field, and 41.2 percent from beyond the arc.

Gordon Hayward, who has struggled throughout the season, scored a game-high 30 points on 12-of-16 shooting, including 4-of-6 from deep.

The Warriors have spent plenty of time in recent weeks talking about playing better defense. They haven’t spent much time committing themselves to it.

Adams had to be the most miserable man in the building.

[RELATED: Curry excited for old pal Bogut's return to Warriors]

Durant at his worst

We’ve become so accustomed to efficiency from Kevin Durant that it’s sometimes taken for granted. He shoots, he score, he glides back on defense.

On this night, that KD was not in the building. He was mostly out of sync, scattered and never really found anything remotely resembling his typical rhythm.

Durant was worse in the first half (2-of-9 from the field, four turnovers, minus-16 over 19 minutes) than the second -- but not by much. He scored 18 points but had an equal amount of field goals and turnovers (five).

Much has been made about his relationship with Boston star Kyrie Irving and the speculation related to the two of them joining the New York Knicks in July. There is no way of knowing if that was a factor, but Durant was waaaay off his game on Tuesday.

Jimmer Fredette signs in Greece after leaving Warriors Summer League team

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USATSI

Jimmer Fredette signs in Greece after leaving Warriors Summer League team

Jimmer Fredette's decision to back out of the Warriors' Summer League roster seems to have paid off.

The 30-year-old guard announced Monday on Instagram that he signed with Greece's Panathinaikos BC, nearly two weeks after pulling out of Summer League in order to stay healthy as he weighed overseas offers. The contract with Panathinaikos, according to Eurohoops, is for two years.

Drafted No. 10 overall in 2010, the former BYU phenom bounced around the NBA for five seasons before playing with the Shanghai Sharks in China from 2016 through 2019. Fredette briefly joined the Phoenix Suns at the end of the 2018-19 season, averaging 3.7 points on 27.6 percent shooting from the field in six games. 

[RELATED: Cavs reportedly offered J.R. for Iguodala trade]

Fredette didn't live up to the hype in NBA that his decorated college career heralded for some fans, Panathinaikos is one of the most decorated teams in Europe and won the Greek Cup under Rick Pitino -- yes, that Rick Pitino -- just last season. All things considered, it's not a bad landing spot for Fredette, and he intimated as much last month while he was still aiming for an NBA comeback.

"I’ve had a lot of cool places to play basketball and make great money and play the game that I love," he said last month at the Warriors' facility. "It has been a true blessing, and I’m continuing my journey right now, trying to push forward, see what happens and make the best of the situation I have.”

NBA rumors: Rockets resisting Andre Iguodala trade due to luxury tax

NBA rumors: Rockets resisting Andre Iguodala trade due to luxury tax

Andre Iguodala currently is a member of the Memphis Grizzlies.

That remains strange to type.

With Memphis in full rebuild mode, it would be shocking if Iguodala remains with the franchise past the February trade deadline.

On Monday morning, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium provided an update on where things stand with the 2015 NBA Finals MVP:

"The Grizzlies have tried to find a trade partner for Iguodala and get some value back -- more than the first-round pick that they acquired from the Warriors to take on his salary.

"The Dallas Mavericks and the Denver Nuggets have engaged with the Grizzlies at different points this offseason. Neither have really gained traction.

"The two teams strongly pursuing Iguodala still are the Rockets and the Clippers, but both teams seem to be at a standstill in talks with the Grizzlies.

The Rockets are still not comfortable and have been resisting going that deep into the luxury tax to acquire a guy like Iguodala where they give up a draft pick. Their tax bill could rise to upwards of $20 million.

The Clippers on the other hand -- the only salary that makes sense for them in terms of shipping out is Moe Harkless, the forward they acquired from the Portland Trail Blazers. But I'm told they do not want to part with Harkless in any type of a deal for Iguodala.

"Both the Rockets and the Clippers have been searching for third and fourth team scenarios to acquire Iguodala. At some point, the Grizzlies could just release Iguodala in a buyout agreement and do right by him and allow him to pick his next team.

"They have been working closely with his agent in trying to find a situation that works best for both sides."

Let's unpack all of this piece-by-piece.

The Grizzlies received a 2024 first-round pick (top-four protected) from Golden State. It's somewhat bold of them to expect even more in exchange, but Iguodala is very valuable and they do hold the leverage right now.

If the Rockets end up refusing to acquire Iguodala because of a luxury tax bill, then owner Tilman Fertitta might as well just sell the team. The guy is worth over $5 billion. Pay up.

If the Clippers are unwilling to give up Harkless for Iguodala, well ...

... that would be incrediby silly and probably won't sit well with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

[RELATEDReport: Former team wants Iguodala back, but price too high]

Most likely, all sides are simply posturing and doing what you do in negotiations. It's quite possible that the front offices involved want to relax and let the dust settle before pulling any triggers.

Besides, we all know that Iguodala eventually will find a way to maneuver himself back to the Warriors next season...

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