If you came to the Golden State of Mind site to read a recap for the worst game of the season, there is something wrong with you. Or me, for writing this. Wait no, we aren't the ones giving up Carlos Boozer dunks and air-balling free throws. So we're okay.
As for the game itself, it was the unsightly culmination of the past several weeks, months, of bad basketball. At no point in the wins against the Detroit Pistons, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, or even the blowout against the New York Knicks did anyone believe the early-season Warriors that beat the Miami Heat on a historic road trip were back.
This recap isn't so much about the analyzation of what's been going horribly wrong but the big picture of what the Warriors can expect to happen in the next couple weeks. There isn't an ancillary need for the broadened sense of perspective we should be feeling, but that might be what keeps us from going insane for the rest of the season. At least that's what it feels like for the fans; the people who came into the season without much expectation, saw the team go 30-17 without Andrew Bogut, and now witnessing a collapse threatening the very fabric of success the Warriors had woven the past two years.
Should we be worried about the playoff chances? Perhaps not, but the fragile gray area of expectations and disappointment is hard to cope with. If I had told you before the season began that the Warriors would be 37-30 and fighting for the sixth playoff spot, you'd be happy, perhaps cracking a joke about the Mayans. So we are expected to revel in that fact, blanketing ourselves in the knowledge that we've been bad for a long, long time, and this newfound winning thing is good. No more tanking, no more embarrassing Joe Lacob moments, and also the fact the Golden State Warriors aren't the Charlotte Bobcats.
But it's okay to feel disappointed as the season is winding down to its sad whimper. Games change, expectations change, players change, and most importantly, the process changes. The Warriors expected Bogut to come back, reinforce a defense that was revamped into top-ten status, and revert any chances of a regression. That was part of the process. David Lee would keep shooting well and play a level of defense that was relatively acceptable. Jarrett Jack would keep making heroic shots game in and game out. Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson would progress in a logical level that would form a solid guard-forward combo. Draymond Green and Festus Ezeli would provide the intangibles, the dirty work, and the toughness needed on a team so often labeled "soft". Andris Biedrins would make a free throw (lol, no). That was part of the process.
But that didn't happen. None of it came true. The process changed. Instead, the Warriors' defense reverted back to its 2010 ways, Bogut couldn't get in shape quick enough, and Klay and Barnes failed to progress at a level the Warriors needed to keep winning. So the expectations changed again. Instead of worrying about who to play in the postseason and what seed to avoid the Memphis Grizzlies, we all prayed we could stay in the sixth spot. WIth the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers fighting for the last spot, we'd be okay. Right?
But last night proved otherwise. This stretch—almost two months of basketball—is proving the process wrong. But it isn't wrong.
The Warriors are this team now and there isn't an easy fix. And it's okay to feel disappointment. No, we didn't expect the team to be in sixth place at this juncture of the season but we also didn't expect them to play this badly so late in a crucial stretch of the regular season.
In that duality lies the expectation and disappointment of a fan base.
The Warriors got blown out by a team starting Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli. That happens. Unfortunately, it's been happening a bit too often. The Dubs may make the playoffs. They may not. But we shouldn't gauge our expectations on what we thought they were going to be before the season or a mere 30 games in.
That's just a part of the process.