Warriors

Warriors Under Review: Season-long trend continues in loss to Celtics

Warriors Under Review: Season-long trend continues in loss to Celtics

The Warriors-Celtics matchup was seen as a Finals preview when the NBA schedule was released last summer. But, after a decisive 128-95 win by Boston Tuesday night, it looks like the Celtics are the team with eyes on June. 

The Celtics pounced on the champs early, jumping to an 11-0 lead in the opening minutes. 

The loss marks the Warriors fifth in their last eight contests, leaving the champs in familiar territory as they begin their stretch run. 

Here are the positives and negatives from the game: 

NEGATIVE

Slow start

That looked familiar. 

As mentioned above, the Warriors again found themselves not mentally prepared for the moment. Following a 12-1 Golden State run to cut the Celtic lead to 13-12, Boston's advantage quickly grew to more than 20. 

Tuesday marked the fourth straight game the Warriors have been down five or more points in the first quarter, continuing a trend that's been around all season. 

The Warriors have more than enough talent to win each game they play in. Their problems lie within their ability to get up for games and show up with the appropriate amount of respect for their opponent.

NEGATIVE 

Defense

There wasn't much of it. 

The Celtics got every shot they wanted, highlighted by a 41-24 second-quarter run that blew the game open. Boston shot 51 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from 3-point range. 

Boston forward Gordon Hayward, who has been struggling most of the season, scored a season-high 30 points in 28 minutes off the bench. What's more disheartening is the Celtics came into Oracle Arena in a slump, having lost five of their last six games. This was a game for the Warriors to make a statement and they chose not to. 

NEGATIVE 

Kevin Durant's shot

He couldn't find it. 

On a night the Warriors couldn't find much offense, Durant struggled, scoring 18 points on 5-of-16 from the field. 

Durant has been struggling from the field (by his standards) as of late. Over his last four games, he's shooting just 42 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from 3-point range. 

Durant is a transcendent scorer who can heat up at any moment so there shouldn't be much worry going forward. 

[RELATED: Durant, Kerr searching for answers]

POSITIVE

Stephen Curry can shoot!

Could there more of that on the way?

After struggling from the field during Golden State's most recent four-game road trip, Curry found his shot, scoring 23 points on 8-of-16 from the field, including four 3-pointers. 

Curry led the run to briefly get the Warriors back into the game in the first quarter before the wheels fell off. In a blowout loss with not much good to be found, a good shooting performance from Curry could be a welcome sign for the Warriors going forward.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr wishes 49ers well in Super Bowl 54 vs. Chiefs

Warriors coach Steve Kerr wishes 49ers well in Super Bowl 54 vs. Chiefs

Draymond Green might not be rooting for the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, but one other prominent member of the Warriors’ organization will be.

Coach Steve Kerr delivered a message via social media on Friday, wishing the Niners well as they prepare to take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium on Feb. 2.

"I just wanna say good luck to the 49ers," Kerr said. "Everybody's pulling for you guys, let's go."

[RELATED: How Dubs benefit from Cauley-Stein trade to Mavericks]

Draymond said after shootaround on Friday that he’ll be rooting for the Chiefs, whose roster features his close friend, defensive end Frank Clark.

Both Kerr and Green happen to know a thing or two about winning championships, but only one of them will be happy with the result from Miami.

How Warriors gain flexibility in Willie Cauley-Stein trade to Mavs

How Warriors gain flexibility in Willie Cauley-Stein trade to Mavs

SAN FRANCISCO -- Willie Cauley-Stein walked out of shootaround, down a long corridor that leads to the Warriors' locker room in Chase Center late Friday morning in preparation for a game scheduled hours later against the Indiana Pacers. The trek marked the big man's last as a member of Golden State.

By Saturday morning, Cauley-Stein officially was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for the Utah Jazz's second-round draft pick in 2020, ending his short tenure in the Bay Area. Along the way, the Warriors set themselves up for future flexibility. 

In the immediate aftermath, the Warriors shed Cauley-Stein's current $2.17 million salary and his $2.8 million player option for the 2020-21 season, while freeing up an open roster spot for this season and beyond. From a financial perspective, it sank Golden State $2.57 million below the hard cap, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks. Additionally, the Warriors have enough salary space to convert the two-way deals of either Ky Bowman or Marquese Chriss. 

Six months ago, Cauley-Stein came to Warriors in search of career revitalization. After four years in Sacramento, he demanded that the Kings rescind his qualifying offer to make him a free agent last summer. After garnering more lucrative offers from other teams, he chose to sign a one-year contract with Golden State, which included the player option. With a new contract, the center hoped to keep the Warriors' postseason streak alive while earning a payday next summer. 

However, those wishes didn't come to fruition. A week before training camp, Cauley-Stein sprained his foot, causing the center to miss the first month of the season. His injury, coupled with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney missing significant time, led to a lost season for the big man.

Nonetheless, Cauley-Stein expressed a desire to stay with the Warriors long term, citing his relationship with coach Steve Kerr. 

"He wants to build a relationship with you," Cauley-Stein told NBC Sports Bay Area last month. "I think, in the past I hadn't had a relationship with my coach. [Former Kings coach Dave] Joerger, me and him had a pretty good rapport, pretty good, like cordial, but we never had like in-depth conversations about life and stuff like that, and the first couple of conversations I had with coach Kerr was real-life stuff and that hit home with me like, 'Damn, he really tried to get to know me.' "

[RELATED: Draymond not rooting for 49ers]

Unfortunately for Cauley-Stein, he won't get to continue that relationship with Kerr.

Now, with Dallas in need of a center with the loss of Dwight Powell, his hope to find a similar relationship with Rick Carlisle will immediately start in a Mavericks uniform.