Winning is so... unexpected. It creates anxiety, because it's not what we're used to. And it's a habit, just like losing. The Warriors are building good habits, and breaking a bad one, but it's not quite as easy as it sounds. As fans we might fret about margins of victory, about Pythagorean wins, about getting All-Star invites for players who are behaving like all-stars. We expect a win against the Charlotte Bobcats, because we have better players. And that's just fine.
For the players and coaches it's a different story. One day at a time, no expectations of wins or losses - just the importance of playing the game and winning. It's not a matter of which team has the best players - what counts is who plays better that night. You don't build a winning culture by comparing players to each other, you build it by playing well enough to win. So far, the Warriors are doing a pretty good job of staying in the moment and in the game, although there is this troubling matter of the fourth quarter....
Same Old Story
Incredible shooting (.543) and only 5 turnovers in the first half leads to a game completely controlled by the Warriors. The second half features 11 turnovers, .342 shooting, and a game that's suddenly in single-digits. This despite the stellar play of Stephen Curry and David Lee, with the able assistance of Klay Thompson.
Lack of focus, sloppiness, playing down to the competition - sure, those have a lot of impact. But there's something more that we need to recognize if we're not going to freak out about the team getting arrogant and costing themselves games out of hubris.
The Hidden Story
Hidden in these games is another story about why we haven't put teams away. It's not entirely turnovers, or easy fouls, or lack of defense. In fact, it's about shooting. And rookies.
Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green went 2-15 against Charlotte. They combined for 4-17 against the Wizards. They went 5-14 in Brooklyn, and 3-11 on the first game of this trip against Detroit. This isn't to say they aren't playing well in other areas, but their shooting has been abysmal, breaking .300 only once in four outings.
What's hidden is the Dubs' overall good shooting has been brought to average at a team level. It would be ridiculous to expect rookies to have good-shooting games every time they hit the court. It would also be silly to think that this terrible shooting will continue. But until the youngsters break out of their respective shooting slumps expect games to be too close for comfort in the fourth quarter.
Over the last 10 games Steph has a TS% of .607, assist/turnover ratio of 2.88, and 21.5 ppg. In the same period, David Lee has a TS% of .628, 11.5 rebounds per game, and 22.5 ppg. Against Charlotte, David had an incredible shooting night with a TS% of .772 while hauling in rebounds at a rate of 18.3%. I'd like to spread this around, but seriously.
David Lee, ladies and gentlemen. David Lee.