This 113-111 overtime loss to the Bulls, the Warriors’ first home defeat in forever (snapping a 19-game winning streak at Oracle), was the definition of why the skeptics — the few still left, anyway — are still skeptical.
- In the words of Draymond Green, who tipped in a missed three by Andre Iguodala on his second try to send the game into overtime, it was a “playoff-type” game.
- It was a very physical contest, in part because the officials let several bumps, scratches, slaps and nudges go.
- The Warriors were without Andrew Bogut (late scratch — flu) against a team with two legit big men in Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol, who was magnificent.
- The Warriors missed a lot of shots that usually fall, including all 13 three-point attempts in the second half and overtime.
- The Warriors took just 12 free throws (and made only six).
Despite losing a game in which they held an 11-point fourth quarter lead to a Bulls team that was without Jimmy Butler (another illness-related absence), the Warriors weren’t worried.
“You’re not gonna win ’em all,” Steve Kerr said with a smile.
“You can’t win ’em all,” said Green, with an even bigger smile.
Had Stephen Curry not committed that strange turnover near the end — when it looked like he expected to get fouled and threw a bad pass that caused Golden State’s one-point lead to become a two-point deficit after a Kirk Hinrich three — they probably would’ve won. If Iguodala didn’t miss both foul shots after that clear path foul, they certainly would’ve had an easier time. If Harrison Barnes didn’t go 0-for-2 from the line on a night where he seemed to hit just about every shot he took from the floor, the Warriors would’ve been in better position.
“We scrapped. I don’t think it was a lack of effort. It was a great game and a fun game to be a part of. We felt like we had it won a couple of times, we just couldn’t close it,” Kerr said.
Kerr also said his team looked tired. Fatigue can make it difficult to do things like play well at the end of a game and shoot threes in the second half and overtime. And since the Warriors already know they’re extremely good, they feel like they’re ready for the playoffs to start, let alone the All-Star Break. Maintaining so much at this point in the season — a brilliant win-loss record, winning streaks both at home and against the Eastern Conference (a 14-game streak on the latter), an air of invincibility — is taxing.
That’s probably why Kerr clearly didn’t harp on this loss as a symbol of impending doom. After a game when “both teams played hard,” as David Lee noted afterward, sometimes it’s best to smile at the entertainment value of what occurred and get to work on some new winning streaks.
— Other than Sam Amico, the one leading the “Warriors are a small, jump-shooting team that’ll be in trouble in the playoffs” brigade is Charles Barkley. So it was rather amusing to hear Green respond in his own unique way to the idea that a chorus of “UH OH” will follow this loss.
“(‘Inside the NBA’ is) a great show. Funny guy. I don’t really mind what he says. He may have a little fun with it tomorrow. That’s cool. But we 36-7, we’re not complaining,” Green said.
“I don’t need “Barkley” to motivate me. That kind of doesn’t work with me. I play hard regardless. Hey, they got a few rebounds. Congrats. (We) lost by two. Probably won’t happen often. So we move on. Utah on Friday, go there and try to get a win, come back here on Saturday and get this ship back rolling.”
— More from a VERY sarcastic Green: “We’re a jump-shooting team. Obviously we can’t handle the heavyweights. We shoot a lot of jump shots.”
— Lee played his best game of the year. He mentioned the “extra work” he’s put in lately, which he said consists of staying after practice. He hit midrange jumpers, threw down a dunk off a Magic Johnson-esque pass by Stephen Curry in transition, and ended up with 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
— Klay Thompson had 20 points in the first half on 8-of-13 shooting, and ended the game with 30 points and finished 5-of-14 the rest of the way.
— Derrick Rose looked phenomenal in the early stages of this game. He missed a ton of shots and committed a ridiculous number of turnovers in the middle of the game. Then he hit a rude step-back jumper against Thompson, who would miss a potential game-tying runner off the glass at the buzzer in OT.
— It’s a wonder opposing teams corral any loose balls when Green and Justin Holiday are playing at the same time.
— Kerr was still upset afterward about Iguodala not going to the line at the end of overtime, when Nikola Mirotic (a very impressive young player, by the way) ended up landing on his back. Even with only 2.9 seconds left, a lot of people pulling for the Warriors probably were glad it was called a non-shooting foul.
— Kerr’s described how he found out about Bogut’s absence: “We literally found out after the starting lineups. He came over and said he was sick and had to go back to the locker room … Tough game to have none of our centers, with Festus and Bogues out. We had to play small. David (Lee) came in and did a fantastic job.”