Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has already perfectly summarized what happened in their 133-105 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 3 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals last night.
When asked by a reporter why the Warriors were taking quick shots in the second quarter, Kerr referenced a rather consistent tendency, as Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News transcribed.
I think falling behind. I think guys are so competitive they want to do it by themselves, they want to help us get right back in it with a couple of big shots, when the reality is over the course of 48 minutes you have to move the ball, you have to be patient, especially against their length and athleticism.
The quick shots against this team, there's two problems. One is their length and athleticism, they're probably going to be able to challenge a quick shot. Because you haven't made them move at all. And then two, you're vulnerable in transition.
So both those things hurt us last night.
What's encouraging about that diagnosis is that it frames the Warriors' problems as correctable, which feels good to think about after watching your favorite team get down by 41 points in the conference finals.
Naturally, when looking where to place blame for that second quarter, people are bound to begin by looking at lineups. Unfortunately, look at Kerr's second quarter lineups reveals an ugly truth: at their worst moments, they had the SBDS of the floor.
The small ball squad, which has dominated the league all season, had a 6 percent eFG% during their nine minutes on the floor last night and did no better than anyone else on the Warriors in the second quarter.
A lot went wrong, including the quick shots that Kerr mentioned. But they also missed a bunch of point blank shots: a tip-in, a couple of missed layups, and missed shots in the paint that we're used to seeing go in.
Halfway thru the 2nd quarter, and there were some crucial misses by the W’s on wide open, easy shots that got this thing going for OKC— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) May 23, 2016
With neither good shots nor bad shots falling for the Warriors, things just started to fall apart entirely.
The Thunder outscored the Warriors 12-3 in fastbreak points in the second quarter and 22-5 in the first half overall — the Warriors just looked absolutely confused and lethargic.
On many of those quick shots, the Warriors neither corralled the offensive board nor got back on defense -- this wasn't the standard story we've gotten use to in the recent playoff era where turnovers are clearly THE problem. On many plays, they just didn't seem to commit to rebounding or transition defense and the Thunder just ran circles around them.
When shots are falling as expected, the Warriors' defense can take their time in getting back on defense. But when they're missing shots and already down on the road, there just has to be more attention paid to that.
A bad start that spiraled out of control
Coach Nick of BBallBreakdown described the Golden State Warriors as "disjointed" in his video analysis of the first quarter of their 103-105 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder
And although he says (correctly) that there was nothing about that first quarter that served as a harbinger of things to come in the second and third, it was easy to tell in the first quarter (and beginning of the second) that that just wasn't their night.
Not the first time this season either - even when they don't look great, they (usually manage to stay in games) https://t.co/BpaO7zMEvf— Nate P (@NateP_SBN) May 23, 2016
The late rotations, oddly terrible passes, and forced shots that plagued the Warriors in Coach Nick's analysis in the first quarter were, to some extent, what did them in during their second quarter collapse.
Let's just hope the Warriors can press the reset button and correct those mistakes in Game 4.