On Saturday night, Steve Kerr called a timeout about 5 second after just taking one, spending extra time lambasting Stephen Curry for not running the right offensive set. The Golden State Warriors were well on their way to a 24-point deficit. This, just two nights after the Boston Celtics locked them up, was especially concerning, if you were to agree that games in mid-November can be especially worrisome. But there the Warriors were, struggling to keep up with the length and shooting of Robert Covington and JJ Redick, while lagging behind the pure strength and speed of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. The Warriors looked toast…until the standard third quarter.
Whatever Kerr said or yelled or screamed got Steph going, not in terms of decision-making or better shooting, but pure aggression. Steph started jacking up midrange jumpers and just trying to make plays. A far cry from the Celtics where he, at times, would refuse to bring the ball ip and settle to vanish on the backside of offensive sets. Cause or correlation, it doesn’t matter. Steph was back.
And in the meantime, Kevin Durant and David West was solid throughout as the two most consistent players this entire season. With bench units, Kerr keeps trying to stick Klay as the main scoring option and it’s wearing on him, forcing someone else to carry the load, and it isn’t from Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green enough. So we’re stuck with the Klay/West two-man game that has been quite effective.
47-15. That was the third quarter. That was the game. And that is the Warriors this entire season. Not trying or trying just enough to avoid getting yelled at by the teacher. Then turning on the jets when the midterms are around even though you already got into Berkeley already.
That particular theme didn’t work itself out in either Boston or Brooklyn, however, with both teams erasing large GSW leads in the second half. Are there long-term concerns? Probably not. To be more specific, it seems like the issues are twofold: Steve Kerr’s aversion to make worthwhile adjustments in meaningless regular season games justified in part of the second issue, the player’s ability to zone out at any time because they simply don’t have to try hard for too long to win games.
So you’ll get Zaza Pachulia staying in late into the first quarter, Jordan Bell not seeing the floor at all, Stephen Curry not coming in early in the 4th quarter when the Nets are coming back, and lack of offensive adjustments when the games bog down. And on the flip side, the turnovers, the pickup-style start in Brooklyn, and the shooting selection of Draymond and Klay almost enable Kerr to force the team to find their own way out of these mistakes.
In any other year, even as recent as the last one, this doesn’t happen. Kerr had to tailor the offense to incorporate KD to start the season. Then KD had to tell Steph to keep being aggressive so as not to lose their identity. This season? Absolutely nothing. Every player knows what’s going to happen and how to combat it. And sometimes they’ll lose a close game against Kyrie Irving, another time come back from 24 down, and then they’ll provide unnecessary drama in a game they should have ended a quarter before. And as it is with all November games for this team now and for the next couple years, it don’t mean a damn thing.