Second chance opportunities doom Warriors in loss to Knicks
Rebounds rebounds rebounds.
We know this isn’t the final version of the Golden State Warriors. They don’t have all their guys, yet this team is so well constructed that even when they’re missing key players they’re still an elite ballclub judging by their record.
But sometimes the realities of the competitive NBA life set in, as it did these last two losses against the Utah Jazz and the New York Knicks. Those other teams get paid to play too.
Draymond Green and James Wiseman are on this team in large part to protect the paint and keep the things we see in the next few clips we’re about to watch from happening. Their absences loomed large in a 116-114 loss last night on the second night of a back-to-back where GSW lacked brute physicality and height, leading to the Knicks crushing them on the glass.
Without their big men, losing the battles on the glass (specifically hemorrhaging offensive rebounds) shrinks Golden State’s already thin margin for error. That issue wiped away a Stephen Curry 35-point and 10-assist effort.
And if you run through the box score, the Dubs actually won most of the statistical categories: made field goals (and 3pters), assists, steals, blocks, turnovers.
But the Knicks had 16 offensive rebounds and won the rebounding battle 51-38. That’s just too many extra opportunities for those guys to get second chance points.
I chose a few clips from last night that spotlighted that issue.
#1 Evan Fournier jacks a contested three in semi-transition. The Knicks’ best player Julius Randle does his work early, slipping into the paint between the Splash Bros and Andrew Wiggins. They offer little resistance and he snatches a grown man rebound for an easy putback. Crazy thing is the 7-foot center Mitchell Robinson was right next to him and could have grabbed it himself if Randle didn’t.
#2 Robinson just casually jogs under the rim with Golden State center Kevon Looney caught in no man’s land guarding nobody off of New York’s cute screening action. That leaves Klay Thompson under the rim gazing as the shot careens off the rim directly into Robinson’s hands.
#3 This one is more random luck, but it’s a gut punch. Fournier jacks up an airball with the shotclock waning, but Robinson has completely sealed off Nemanja Bjelica under the rim. Wiggins’ eyes are tracking the ball but he’s not in position to affect Robinson’s rebound. Curry notices Robinson too late and futilely dives in for a pluck attempt. Robinson jams it home with the foul for a crucial And-1 play.
#4 Late in the fourth quarter with the Knicks clinging to a five-point lead, the Warriors give up TWO straight offensive rebounds. Check Randle bodying rookie Jonathan Kuminga on the first rebound #WEIGHTROOM. Curry again tried to dive down and steal it, but he’s just too small and he’s out of position. Fournier jacks up another brick but this time Robinson has already eased his way back under the rim for another offensive board.
Those extra possessions really added up in a game that ended up being decided by two points.
The Dubs still had a chance to win the game down the stretch despite these gaffes on the glass. Thompson’s pump fake on his game winning shot attempt was smooth AF. Unfortunately the shot just didn’t go down.
This team could really use the All-Star break to recharge those batteries and focus for the final stretch of the regular season before the playoffs in spring. But overall I’m proud of where the squad is despite their adversity, and it’s pretty cool that they’re choosing to keep this team intact while some other highly publicized super teams are fighting for the play-in game. YES I’M TALKING ABOUT YOU LAKERS AND NETS.
Fun fact: when LeBron made his NBA debut (10.29.03 v Sacramento) Kuminga was a year and two weeks old.
Campazzo is an epic flopper