Thompson: Warriors’ home loss makes one thing clear: They need more

SAN FRANCISCO — Steve Kerr normally doesn’t envy his team’s 3-point addiction. He is more inclined to defend it, declaring it a staple of his identity and the reason for his power.

But in Saturday’s primetime loss, the 3-pointers were a symbol of his powerlessness, a byproduct of the inability to create. He Warriors made 58 3-pointers in 48 minutes, one of the franchise record 59, which they set five days ago in a double-overtime (58-minute) win over atlanta.

“We didn’t do a great job of getting past them,” Kerr said. “I think his defense was great and we just couldn’t generate a lot of rotations. So it was a hard, hard sled. If they’re in front of you and you can’t get to the rim, you end up swinging the ball around the perimeter and shooting some 3s that aren’t ideal.”

This is the orlando magic he’s talking One of the lowest rated defenses in the league, 24th in the nba at 114.1 points per 100 possessions allowed, worse even than the maligned Warriors defense. The Warriors were so helpless against the size, athleticism and aggressiveness of the Magic’s defense that they had no choice but to hit 3-pointers. With Stephen Curry out and klay thompson a last minute scratch, no wonder they didn’t earn enough. They missed 40 of the 58 and were managed, 115-101. Their second straight home loss, both against teams near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, underscored the Warriors’ need for reinforcements.

They need more.

Not because they allowed two of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference to come to Chase Center and beat them. But because of the five game winning streak. Do you remember the vibes during Kwanzaa week? It began with the brilliance of a short-handed surprise from memphis and ended with an epic victory over Atlanta. That stretch saw them move up the Western Conference standings. He revived a locker room, and a season, that was mired in mediocrity. He reminded the rest of the league that the defending champions may still have a say in this year’s title.

What that stretch did was show how close the Warriors are to being a true contender. He showed that there can still be problems in the West. Beating Memphis and portland and Atlanta without Curry and Andrew Wiggins it was exactly the kind of fight they didn’t seem to have sometimes. The determination to, as Kerr said, hang in there and bounce back showed something. He touted the idea of ​​leaning on this season’s title hopes, which requires filling in some gaps.

The last two losses? Those stressed that the immediate help they need is not on this list. lose to detroit and Orlando, who have now swept the season series against the Warriors, featured similar kryptonite. Both the Pistons and the Magic are young, big and athletic. They played the Warriors like they knew they could milk that advantage. The Warriors could use a boost in size and athleticism, inside and down the wings. That’s where lottery picks were supposed to come in handy.

Time jonathan kuminga seems to have solidified his place in the rotation (his athleticism and energy were sorely missed in the two losses), youth hasn’t made the difference expected. The Warriors need more. They have been relying on it to come from the growth of young players. But counting on that feels risky. The Warriors have to counter size and athleticism with skill and cunning. It just doesn’t seem like they have enough on their roster to sustain them through the regular season and then the playoffs.

The Warriors didn’t play Friday and jumped to No. 6 in the West. Then they lost Saturday and dropped to No. 9. That’s how precarious and volatile this season will be. It is very possible that they will finish in the top four, but they will just as easily be in the play-in. The variation is due to the volume of youth on the roster and the inconsistency of production.

Curry is trying to come back next week. Thompson, despite what Kerr suggested as a minor hiccup, seems more like him than ever in this home stay. Wiggins was rusty after missing 15 games, but he’s back on the court. dramond green Y kevon looney they have been holding up during these difficult times. So the starting five should still be formidable. jordan poole Y Donte Di Vincenzo They’re inked as guards from the sidelines. Add Kuminga, there are eight players. They need one or two more to have what they need to run.

The NBA trade deadline is a month away, on February 9. The buyout market begins after that, and the Warriors still have a vacant roster spot.

A large athletic would be ideal. A winger who can dribble and attack defenses would also be optimal. A veteran with some refinement is essential. The hosts needed all three against the Magic.

The Warriors have a problem with strong, dynamic big men. His rim protection has its limits, especially when you consider that Draymond Green, the Warriors’ best rim protector, has to spend some time on the perimeter solving the Warriors’ point-of-attack defensive woes.

Orlando’s starting front — Franz Wagner, paolo banchero Y Wendell Carter Jr. – combined for 62 points on Saturday. All three had 30 points in the paint, more than the entire Warriors team. Orlando had twice as many points in the paint (52) as Golden State (26). The trio of Wagner, Banchero and Carter are averaging 6-foot-10, 248 pounds and 21 years old. The Warriors have a player with that size and age combination: james wiseman. All others are shorter, lighter or older.

Orlando posed the same problem as Detroit, which scored 52 points in the paint, and the same problem as Atlanta, which scored 72 points in the paint.

Getting into the paint can also be a problem for the Warriors. Outside of Curry, they don’t have players who can consistently force their way in while also being skilled enough to finish. Poole is the only other player who can create from the dribble. But he has trouble dodging certain defenders, which leads to his dribbling too much and his spate of turnovers. Without Curry, the defense is attacking Poole to keep him out of the paint. Poole has totaled four or more turnovers in 12 of his last 15 games. Ten of those high-rotation games were without Curry in the lineup. The Magic bracketed him to take away his driving lanes and then cut the role off of him, forcing Poole to spin the ball to the top.

And if he couldn’t break Orlando’s defense, no one on the Warriors could.

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The Warriors usually go to Wiggins at the spot when they need a 2. Since he’s never been on the shelf for this long, he was hoping to go live on Saturday. But it didn’t take him long to learn the hard way how hard it is to come back after a significant time away. As a result, Saturday turned out to be a historic spin day. It was only the fifth time in Warriors history that they took at least 50 shots from 3-point range in a game in which they attempted fewer than 90 total field goals. Golden State took 28 more 3-pointers than two points, the largest discrepancy in team history, according to Stathead.

Obviously, it’s a lot harder to contain the Warriors’ offense with Curry in the lineup, especially with Thompson by his side and hitting shots. But even if he can bank that up, the Warriors want them fresh and available to do their thing in the postseason. They could use someone else who can attack the rim without having to fool the defense first. Someone who can reliably pressure the defense from within.

That’s what other teams do to the Warriors. Go isolated, break through the paint and score inside or serve after the defense collapses. It’s harder for them to protect the 3-point line when they’re intimidated in the paint. Their lack of size forces them to protect the paint by committee, which means they have to be on point with the shutdowns or hope their opponents miss. Opponents are shooting 42 percent from 3 in the Warriors’ 20 losses, compared to 29.5 percent in their 20 wins.

The Warriors need the option to do that, attack inside to set up or complement their shot. Such versatility is especially necessary since teams that play too much on the perimeter is a common practice. The Warriors were last in the league in shots in the restricted area (21.4) before Curry went down. Since Curry was out, they averaged even fewer tries (17.4).

Poole is a guy who can get in, but he’s having some trouble dealing with the extra attention. Orlando followed the plan to stop the Warriors perfectly: Exaggerate on the perimeter to eliminate the 3-point shot, force them forward, and channel them to the rim guard.

The threat of his shots opens up avenues for Poole, but defenses have decided to simply take that away from him by putting pressure on him. Poole is being rushed by defensive pressure, so even when he’s wide open, he still looks rushed. He has wreaked havoc on his 3-point shooting.

The NBA has 11 players who have made at least 300 attempts from behind the arc. Poole, at 30.4 percent, has by far the worst percentage of the 11. miami‘s Max Strus it ranks tenth with 34.1 percent. The curry, of course, is the best with 43.4 percent. That’s why Poole has a better time when he’s on the court with Curry. Much less attention on No. 3. But in the event that Curry is out, or resting, or when Thompson and Poole are free, the Warriors could use someone who does something different.

Or maybe just someone who can consistently hit 3-pointers from the left corner. (By the way, phoenix suns Guard Damion Leewho will receive his championship ring from the Warriors at Chase Center on Tuesday, is shooting 65.6 percent from the left corner and 48 percent from 3.)

Identifying the need is easy. Identifying the player to fill it is more difficult. The Warriors were so right in their picks last year that it seems easy. But finding a fit is tricky, especially in the middle of the season. Even if the Warriors decide to cash in some assets, the question is for whom?

For that, they will have to wait to see who is available on the market and if it is worth sacrificing assets to obtain it. Or working on a buy to get free before March 1st.

This entire stretch without Curry has been a great opportunity for someone to claim the open spots in the back of the rotation. DiVincenzo and Kuminga shined. Patrick Baldwin Jr. it has emerged as playable in a few places and has shown promise for the future. But right now, the best options for consistency have been in you jerome Y antonio corderoplayers with two-way contracts with the G League who technically don’t have roster spots.

But the losses to Detroit and Orlando, both teams filled with young players who are as exploitable as they are explosive, showed just how far the Warriors’ young pieces, talented as they are, are from being what Golden State needs them to be.

The same homestand that has shown the Warriors have the ability to make themselves special again has also shown where they are openly vulnerable.

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(Photo: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

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