Getting blown out by a desperate Los Angeles Lakers team who just had their obsessive-compulsive coach fired wasn’t surprising. It was the manner in which both teams played, one much more poorly than the other. After responding to the season-long loss of Brandon Rush so well in Los Angeles less than a week ago, the Warriors looked despondent and out of sorts after learning they’d be without Andrew Bogut for at least a week, probably longer. Maybe much longer.
It wasn’t as if the Lakers blew the Warriors off the Staples Center floor in the first quarter. This was the same mediocre Lakers team they were when they lost in Utah to go 1-4. Dwight Howard isn’t at full strength, Metta World Peace is in regular season mode, and Steve Blake is not a viable alternative to Steve Nash. Then there’s the Lakers’ bench, which is so forgettable I keep expecting to see Smush Parker.
But the Warriors just couldn’t make any shots. 33.7% from the field, 28% from three, 60% from the line. The free throw shooting was probably no more than an anomaly wrapped in an Andris Biedrins airball, but the rest of the offense was stagnant.
The first game the Warriors played without Andrew Bogut was the best win of the season, a 114-110 victory in the same arena against the Clippers. In that game the Warriors had a huge rebounding advantage and Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry looked more like All-Star caliber starters than reserves.
Bogut was tentative offensively against Cleveland. However, the threat of him making something happen against Cleveland’s overmatched frontcourt, combined with his passing ability, freed things up for Stephen Curry, David Lee and Klay Thompson. On Friday night against the Lakers, all three players played stilted and rhythm-free on offense. Threes are an integral part of modern NBA offenses, but pull-up threes in transition and 20-footers off one dribble aren’t the way to score consistently. Especially on the road.
The Warriors are going to have great nights and off nights shooting from distance. That’s the way they’ve been forever, and that’s the way they’ll be until they commit to getting into the lane every once in a while. It doesn’t mean you can’t drive and kick to a shooter in the corner, but they can’t attack from the outside-in a majority of the time.
— Maybe the Warriors shot 34% because a “rogue manager” either deflated the basketballs or messed with the rims. Does anyone know what Lane Kiffin was doing on Friday night?
— The Warriors won’t truly know what they have until the beginning of January at the earliest, but we already know what the Warriors have in Richard Jefferson. Seeing him go up for a silly reverse dunk and get rejected by Antawn Jamison was as embarrassing as basketball gets for a once-skilled small forward. Even though he got fouled. Antawn Jamison!!!
— Festus Ezeli has shown promise, but the Warriors are doomed this season unless his offensive game grows — quickly. Biedrins is not the answer, and they cannot count on Landry to score 18 points every game.