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Despite fireworks, Warriors stumble in double-OT thriller

Houston snaps Golden State’s 12 game winning streak, which stands as the third longest in franchise history.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

OAKLAND, Calif. — With the reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton in attendance, the Golden State Warriors fumbled away their game in its final minutes just as Cam did against the Oakland Raiders some five days prior.

Golden State’s self inflicted wounds occurred early and were felt late. Seventeen turnovers and a handful of silly fouls from the first half highlighted the Warriors lack of discipline throughout the night, eventually leading to both Stephen Curry and Draymond Green fouling out before the final buzzer sounded.

Regardless, the Warriors still out shot the Rockets from the free throw line 37 to 30 and forced Houston into 21 turnovers.

Opponents are beginning to exploit a newfound weakness in Golden State’s super villain shield, offensive rebounding and second chance points. The Warriors give up a league worst 12 offensive rebounds per game as well as 17 second chance points per game, which also ranks in the bottom half of the league.

Golden State in fact had zero second chance points to Houston’s 12 heading into the 4th quarter.

The Warriors tendency to give up offensive boards does not come as a surprise as the team usually goes small in favor of more offense. Factor in a team that plays at the pace that the Rockets do and you are asking to get run off the court by playing a lumbering seven-foot center to defend Houston’s attacking pick and roll offense.

Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee were a combined -16 in just 12 minutes of play, tallying a total of four rebounds. Even with that said, the Warriors missed opportunity after opportunity to put the Rockets away.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Draymond Green missed a pair of free throws with 1:08 remaining in the regulation and the Warriors down two. Golden State managed to get the game into bonus time where head coach Steve Kerr then saw his team let a four point lead slip away in the first overtime.

“We had a real cushion,” said Kerr after the loss. “I thought we let it slip away at that point when we had every opportunity to finish them off.”

What really did the Warriors in was Steph Curry picking up his sixth foul with 3:25 left in the second overtime period. As a result, the Dubs offense grew stagnate and Kevin Durant was essentially asked to win the game.

Kerr linked the lack of scoring in the second overtime to poor offensive execution.

“We weren’t moving and cutting like we normally do,” said Kerr after the game. “I just felt like our ball movement went away and as a result we just kind of fell into their switching and kind of went one-on-one and took difficult shots. We have to do better with that.”

Draymond Green agreed, adding that the offense wasn’t moving while Durant “took all the tough shots, everybody else stood and watched him play.”

Even with the offensive firepower that Golden State possesses, they still have kinks to work out when it comes to late game execution. The Warriors can run and gun with the best of them, but come playoff time this team will need to engineer buckets in the half court in order to win games.

How Golden State plans to stop teams from owning them on the offensive glass however is a question that is yet to have an answer.


Game Notes

Per Warriors PR

  • The Warriors had four players who played over 40 minutes. Kevin Durant (49), Draymond Green (47), Klay Thompson (47) and Andre Iguodala (42).
  • Houston grabbed a Warriors opponent season-high 56 rebounds.
  • Both teams attempted at least 40 three-pointers in the same game for the first time in NBA history. The combined 88 three-point attempts in a single game is also an NBA record.
  • The Warriors had 31 assists on 43 made field goals. It is their 13th game with at least 30 assists this season, which leads the NBA.
  • Three of Golden State’s last five home losses have come in overtime (Jan. 27, 2015 vs. Chicago; April 5, 2016 vs. Minnesota; Dec. 1, 2016 vs. Houston).
  • James Harden recorded a triple-double with 29 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists.
  • Kevin Durant had a season high 39 points, his most as a Warrior.
  • Draymond Green had season highs of 20 points and 15 rebounds.

Andrew Flohr is the credentialed writer for GSoM. You can follow him on Twitter, InstaGram and SnapChat.

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