Another close loss, yet Warriors can still control their destiny

Tick tock, tick tock!

The Golden State Warriors fell victim to another fourth quarter slump resulting in a tough loss, this time faltering in a 108-103 defeat to the New Orleans Pelicans. The teams faced off for the second straight evening in Louisiana, with the Pelicans narrowly avoiding getting swept after Golden State won the first contest.

The Pellies kept their faint play-in tournament hopes alive, while the Dubs remain in the 8th seed as of this morning.

During the dynasty days, I figured the Warriors were gonna win pretty much every game. If they didn’t, that team was so talented it was easy to chalk up any defeat to either a freak injury or boredom. Last year, the team was so injured that they turned the season into an extended try out for their young players/G-League guys. Any of their wins (they only had 15 of ‘em) was to be enthusiastically celebrated like a baby’s first steps, but I had no real expectations.

This season has been an emotional rollercoaster as each game is basically a coin toss as their 33-33 record shows. The injury riddled depth chart has been slowly whittled down to the nubs, forcing Coach Kerr to play the only healthy eight guys he can trust as the regular season comes to a close. This team is competitive and feisty enough to keep games close, but they’re missing three starters and have a steep learning curve for their newer guys learning to win. Not a lotta room for slip ups this late in the season.

Last night the Dubs led 90-81 with 8:30 to go in the fourth quarter before wearing out down the stretch. The loss was on one hand quite predictable: second night of a road back-to-back with that thin roster is a tough ask. But on the other hand it’s a sickening reminder of how many close games this team has dropped in the last 30 days alone.

  • 126-114 loss to Minnesota; held a 91-89 lead after 3Q.

  • 118-114 loss to Washington; led 104-93 with 5:53 left in 4Q.

  • 119-114 loss to Boston; led 109-103 with 3:40 remaining in 4Q.

  • 110-107 loss to Washington; held a 107-104 lead with 19 seconds left in 4Q.

  • 117-111 loss to Atlanta; led 84-81 with 11 minutes left in 4Q.

Tuesday night Stephen Curry willed himself to 37 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals despite his shot abandoning him after the lights mysteriously went out in the arena during the third period.

Draymond Green had (7 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists) game-within-the-game battle against the phenom Zion Williamson (23 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals) that provided some playoff level intensity.

Andrew Wiggins even did a remarkable Klay Thompson impersonation, scoring 26 points while knocking down 5-of-10 attempts from beyond the arc. Wiggins shot is looking reliable, and his defensive motor was on display in 39 grueling minutes on the court.

And yet the Dubs couldn’t get over the hump. When role players Kent Bazemore, Mychal Mulder, and Jordan Poole combine for 8-28 shooting on a night Curry goes 13-of-31, you know the ball just wasn’t cooperating with Golden State. Sigh.

I was going to whine some more about this game until I clicked on the ESPN NBA tab for an update on league news. The only “positive” headline I see is Lonzo Ball and Williamson are bonding after Ball lit the Dubs up for 33 points (with 7 treys!).

The Nets and the Lakers were the chic picks to meet in the Finals earlier in this season and yet today they’re both concerned about injury woes and getting a good groove before the playoffs. It reminds me that every NBA team has concerns and fears they are working through, even among the alleged juggernauts.

The Warriors were a fringe pick to make the postseason with all the suffering they’ve been through, and yet they’re right there in position with that 8th seed. They will play their final six games at home, with their next two games coming against an OKC Thunder team they dropped 147 points on a few weeks ago.

These limping Dubs still control much of their destiny; we’ll have to see if they have enough left in the tank to get it done. I know we only have limited attendance for these home games at Chase Center, but any man, woman, or child that steps in that building needs to pour out their hearts for these guys. Rally them to the finish line with your energy, Dub Nation!

They’re gonna need it.