The Golden State Warriors have hit a rough patch. Over the last three regular seasons, the Warriors have risen to become widely respected as one of the best teams in the NBA. However, lately they are looking like a team that will struggle to even make it out of the West, much less win another NBA championship.
Before this season, the last time the Warriors lost two consecutive games in the regular season was back in April of 2015, which was also the season they won their last NBA championship. However, after losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night, the Warriors have now lost four of their last six games.
Warriors fall to Timberwolves, 103-102, losing 4 games in a 6-game span in the regular season for the first time since January 2014. pic.twitter.com/G468zjxqYm
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 11, 2017
The Warriors are not used to dealing with adversity like this. Kevin Durant’s injury at the end February seemingly started this downhill trend, and Golden State is clearly still trying to find their rhythm after losing their leading scorer. And the frustration is clearly starting to show.
The Warriors have looked tired and stressed during difficult stretch. Following the loss to the Timberwolves, Draymond Green, who typically is very quick to address the media following games, waited about a full 45 minutes after the game ended before speaking to the media. Green, along with coach Steve Kerr, was also incredibly critical of the officiating during the game, which the team felt was unfairly called.
Draymond Green contemplating saying something that would warrant a fine, but says he’ll buy a watch instead. Wasn’t happy with officiating. pic.twitter.com/FPEERUy9f0
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 11, 2017
Regardless of any other factors that may have contributed to recent losses, the Warriors’ issues have clearly been exposed. For starters, the team has a huge issue with committing turnovers that other teams are capitalizing on. This has been a problem all season, even with a healthy Durant, as Golden State ranks 22nd in the NBA in turnovers, averaging 14.8 turnovers per game.
These turnover struggles also highlight the Warriors’ defensive issues, as Golden State struggles with transition defense. This results in those turnovers often turning into quick fastbreak opportunities and transition baskets for opposing teams.
The Warriors, a team well-known for their three-point shooting prowess, also have not been shooting the ball well from deep during this slump. In a home loss to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night, the Warriors went a combined 6-for-30 from behind the arc, or 20 percent overall. Stephen Curry went 2-for-9 from downtown, while Klay Thompson was 2-8. Golden State has a tendency to try and shoot their way out of deficits, but this strategy is extremely flawed when shots just aren’t falling.
Kevin Durant is still at least a month away from returning to the lineup. He is expected to be able to return for the playoffs, though it could be too little, too late by that point. If the Warriors’ recent struggles are not remedied, they are in serious danger of falling out of the top seed in the Western conference.
While the Golden State Warriors are clearly still an elite team, the loss of Kevin Durant is showing that they still have some team issues to work out. The Warriors do not have much time left to get their groove back. Hopefully they find it sooner rather than later, as they will need to be in top form if they hope to make it back to the Finals for a third straight year.