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Did the Warriors manage to reset? The Cavs will be a good test
Blow on the cartridge and try again!
Somehow, the Golden State Warriors managed to get almost a full week off. They needed it. A full reset (no, not for you Steph) would be great. At 4-7, the Warriors find themselves sitting in between the Sacramento Kings and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Sure, it’s just five games out of first, but 11 games into the season after their championship, that is actually quite an (anti) accomplishment.
After the rare opportunity of having two days for practice in a row during the regular season, Golden State is set to host the young and surprisingly strong Cleveland Cavaliers team.
WHO: Golden State Warriors (4-7) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (8-3)
WHEN: Friday November 11th, 2022 //7pm PDT
Injury update: Donte DiVincenzo has been back practicing with the team and is expected to return!
Sometimes when you hit the reset button, things might still not be working right - doesn’t mean the game’s broken
The championship core is still intact, but that doesn’t make it any easier to watch the Warriors losing games while Stephen Curry reminds the league that he’s still in peak form. In order to defeat the Sacramento Kings, it took a heroic performance from Curry (47 points, 17 of them coming in the 4th quarter) to close the game.
I’m old enough to remember blowing on my Legend of Zelda golden cartridge and assuming that it would be okay - and that’s pretty much what the Warriors have done with this mid-season mini camp.
“It’s rare to get a day off and then two straight days of practice; that might only happen once or twice a season,” Kerr said. “It’s a great chance to recharge the batteries with the day off and then be really locked in for a couple good practices, taking care of details and execution stuff at both ends. That’s what we’ve done. The focus and the energy have been fantastic.”
“Taking care of the details and execution at both ends” is as good of a summary as you can think of to describe Golden State’s early season woes. The problems are all over the place. Jordan Poole’s season has somehow gone more downhill since he got punched in the face at practice. The youth movement - Joe Lacob’s heralded two timeline plan - has stalled; and the gutted bench rebuild hasn’t come to fruition.
Right now it’s early, and there’s plenty of time to fix everything. But lean back and take stock of it all for a second here:
25th in Net Rating (with the 27th ranked defense);
16.7 turnovers per game, the fourth-highest in the league - and third-worst in points off turnovers (21.7);
Poole has been straight up bad. 40.6% overall and 30.1% from deep, which hurts extra because he shoots so much (15.4 field goal attempts per game in just 28.8 minutes);
Klay Thompson isn’t far behind. Career worst overall (36%) and three point shooting (32.6%) on his 2nd highest shot attempt rate (17.9 shots in around 29 minutes per game ).
I’m not entirely sure where I fall in the spectrum of optimistic/pessimistic fan outlook, but I’d like to think of myself as something of a centrist. Right now, I could easily see this season shaking out to one side or the other. I tend to believe in the Warriors. The proven core. The electric contributions of Poole once his shots start falling again (and same goes for Thompson). The next generation of NBA journeymen and young rising talent with more time and experience under their belts.
Right now though? There’s a gap to bridge. Even with a couple of practices and some time to breathe, there’s a lot of work to do in Golden State. We might need to take that Zeldra cartridge out another time or two and blow on it more before it starts working right though.
Look out for the Cavs…?
The wacky thing about these early season streaks is that the small samples do matter a little bit. In a game of streaks and runs, one team playing really well and another struggling in the random weeks that they meet during the regular season matters a bit.
Again, take all of this with many grains of salt, but I’m just reporting what’s happened. Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley is a shockingly nice one-two combo - particularly on the defensive end.
The Cavaliers somehow have the league’s best Net Rating (+10.9 points per 100 possessions) the second-best defense, and the fourth best offense. I can hear Daniel laughing at me already. Look, I know. I get it. All I’m trying to say is that this Cavs team is solid. We aren’t playing for a championship ring or anything tonight, but this is going to be a battle.
It’s the Cavaliers. Golden State has a deeply engrained need to beat this team any chance they get. With the time off, and a couple of practice under their belts, this sure feels like an impending Warriors win - even if it’s not going to come easy.
That’s right folks, it’s Friday! Which means it’s the day where I share some rad music and tell you to go support your favorite artists.
Rather than trying a whole song, what if I just time stamped you directly into the best part? Got a minute to check out one of the first punk bands that I ever saw live?
Let’s shoot the moon!