Whoever came up with the play-in tournament needs to be fired! Sigh, Warriors eliminated
Turnovers doomed these Dubs one last time despite a heroic effort.
If you’re reading this, congratulations! You’ve finished Year 2 of life without Klay Thompson.
Golden State’s season lurched to it’s final resting place Friday night in an emotionally gutwrenching 117-112 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Dubs had beat Memphis Sunday to secure the 8th spot in the play-in tournament, but back-to-back losses to the Los Angeles Lakers and the Grizz eliminated them from playoff contention.
It’s clear that the grind of the 8-man rotation for over a month had finally sapped the legs from these proud Warriors. They gave their all against L.A. only to lose in the final moment; from tip last night it was clear these dudes legs were stuck in cement. But this team’s heart and will is off the charts. They trailed the whole game and were down nine with 3:03 remaining in the fourth quarter yet somehow rallied back to send it into overtime. This team will never quit on you.
And if you told me that in a home elimination game Stephen Curry would have 39 points, Draymond Green would have a triple-double, and Andrew Wiggins would have a 22-point double-double? I’d guarantee the Warriors won that night. In reality, tired legs and poor execution doomed Dubs. Let’s dredge through it all and find the educational gems that will help lead this franchise into next season.
But first can we just point out that Ja Morant is pretty good at basketball?
The Warriors were content to let burgeoning young star Morant (35 points, 5-of-10 shooting from 3PT range) consistently shoot WIDE open threes. Look I know that the second year guard is a career 31% shooter, but letting him calmly step into triples with not a single Warrior in sight? Tough gamble that kept killing Golden State’s momentum.
He eventually took over in overtime and finished the Warriors off with relish. This young man is going to be a real problem going forward as he continues to evolve his game. This was a huge test for him and he passed it, kudos!
TURNOVERS TURNOVERS TURNOVERS
Curry’s 39 points on 13-of-28 shooting (6-of-15 from beyond the arc) was amazing considering the entire defense was hounding him like he owed child support. But he also coughed up 7 damning turnovers. Draymond Green’s 11 point, 16 rebound, 10 assist effort was further proof he’s still in his prime; but his night too was marred by 6 killer turnovers. Even the heady reserve from East Oakland Juan Toscano-Anderson contributed to the giveaway fest, coughing up 4 turnovers of his own.
When your three best playmakers combine for 17 turnovers, you know the margin for error is going to be at zero. The Dubs lacked energy (especially in the first half) running their motion offense, a byproduct of playing a thin rotation for several weeks. But we’ve also gotta give major credit to a Memphis defense that had scouted the Dubs well and played smart and physical. Golden State struggled to find passing windows as the mixture of fatigue and the Grizzlies bump-and-run coverage threw off the offense’s timing.
The Dubs finished with 30 assists but a ghastly 21 turnovers. We’re talking lazy cross court lobs getting intercepted, getting pockets picked, forcing lasers into traffic, all the turnovers that just make a coach pull their hair out. When Coach Steve Kerr was interviewed before the fourth quarter and was asked what the Warriors needed to do to steal the win, he responded with simmering frustration about the turnovers.
How did the others do?
Okay now that we’ve gotten the heartbreaking turnovers out of the way, let’s talk about the role players around Curry and Green in the most important game of the year.
Jordan Poole further cemented that he’s a keeper, scoring 19 points in 38 minutes off the bench with 4 assists. When the offense bogged down and an exhausted Curry was bracketed by defenders, Poole was the only Warrior who could get hit from deep (3-of-5 from downtown) or create something off the dribble.
The aforementioned JTA was a +11 plus/minus in his 32 minutes. His scoring was not there (4 points on 1-of-5 shooting), but he hustled on the boards mightily (7 rebounds). The Grizzlies defended him similar to Green, forcing him to be more of a scorer than a playmaker, and he couldn’t make them pay. But his hustle was felt and he was integral to the comeback effort.
Kent Bazemore’s usual brand of chaotic energy couldn’t quite translate into consistent positive momentum. He was 1-of-5 on mostly wide-open treys; if he hits a couple more of those this is a different ball game. Kevon Looney played 24 minutes and valiantly battled down low with massive Memphis center Jonas Valanciunas. Mychal Mulder played 9 minutes and was a -14.
As for my guy Wiggins, he came up big on the boards and was the second highest scoring Dub, but I’m sure all anyone will remember is this rushed jumper he took with the game in the balance.
Sigh. You know, all year long I think Dub Nation was aware this team wasn’t what it could be on paper without health. But I think we had accepted the circumstances and settled on “low playoff seed” as a rallying cry. We were disappointed by the close losses they suffered throughout the season and we were frustrated by stretches of turnovers and poor defense. To have the season end this way is sad, but ultimately this team has had these issues all year. We knew.
I truly admire these Dubs for battening down the hatches and fighting without several key pieces available, but the last two games were proof that these exhausted Warriors couldn’t clean up the mistakes that dogged their season.
Golden State didn’t deserve to make the playoffs with how they finished, and I’m okay with that. I respect their effort through the adversity, even if the results weren’t ideal.
Well, this is the final Warriors recap of the season. I wanna thank the LGW team and of course all of you for motivating me to write a gajillion words the mornings after games. This season really pushed us all to stretch our minds around exactly what it was we were observing, and showed the depth of the love and gratitude this fanbase has for this team, WIN OR LOSE.
I’m proud to cheer for this franchise along with you all, and just you wait and see how we keep building throughout this offseason to unlock the next mystery in Dub Nation: what will the Warriors front office do next?
Oh yeah btw Klay Thompson has something he wants you to know mwahahahaha.