OAKLAND -- In the hours after their Christmas Day loss, the Warriors didn’t bother denying the obvious: They were embarrassed by a Lakers team that was without LeBron James for most of the game.
This was the kind of game for which the Warriors once lived, atop the national TV marquee against an archenemy, and they cruised to a 127-101 defeat at Oracle Arena.
Though Kevin Durant commented afterward that he took nothing positive out of the game, we beg to differ. Here are the positives and negatives from a contest that was, given the circumstances and conditions, the Warriors' worst loss of the season:
The shooting was worse than atrocious
For the vast majority of the game, the Warriors were comically bad. They shot six air balls. Awful as it was to shoot 25 percent from deep, it was far worse to shoot 38.6 percent on uncontested shots. Their best shooters -- Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Durant -- shot 30.4 percent on open looks. That’s not unusual. That’s mysterious.
The Lakers at times played tight defense, but there were far more moments when the Warriors couldn’t find the bottom of the net standing beneath it with binoculars.
Bad defense routed good defense 45-3
Three minutes of ferocious defense is all the Warriors mustered, forcing four misses and two turnovers to trim a 14-point deficit to two in the third quarter. The other 45 minutes, however, were filled with lowlights of lazy closeouts, late rotations and miscommunications that resulted in wide-open looks for LA. The Lakers shot 42.1 percent in the third quarter, and 59.1 percent in the other three.
There have been times when the Warriors have succeeded with nothing more than a brief defensive surge. That wasn’t close to enough against the Lakers.
Andre Iguodala led the Warriors in scoring. We repeat: Andre Iguodala led the Warriors in scoring.
In scoring 23 points -- his first game in 20 months with at least 20 points -- he was aggressive, taking 12 shots in 27 minutes. He was efficient, making nine. He was 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. Subtract his numbers, and the Warriors shot 29 of 81 (35.8 percent).
Seeing Iguodala drain shots from all over the court -- he’s shooting 46.4 percent from deep this month -- means he's a threat. That makes the Warriors appreciably better.
Draymond Green stood in the middle of the locker room after the game and unloaded on himself. He said he “(mucked) up” the offense. He said there were too many times when his indecision cost the team precious time in possessions.
He was right.
When the Lakers dared Green to shoot, he didn’t. So they clogged the passing lanes, which left Green in limbo and forced him to commit four turnovers in 25 minutes before he fouled out.
It’s not often that Green’s brain betrays him on the court. It did, and he knew it.