OAKLAND, Calif. — If anything can be taken away from the Warriors’ 128-119 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night it’s that there is still plenty of work to be done in Golden State.
The Dubs blew a 19 point fourth quarter lead. This is pretty alarming for any basketball team, let alone one with championship aspirations. It was the largest blown fourth quarter lead by any team in nearly four years.
After scoring 90 points through the first three quarters the Warriors were outscored 49-21 in the fourth quarter and overtime. The offense grew stagnate as the fundamentals of Steve Kerr’s offense, like passing and cutting, gave way to isolation hero ball.
With about :25 seconds left in the 4th quarter Golden State turned to a Kevin Durant iso on Zach Randolph at the top of the three-point line. Kerr said he thought about calling a timeout but ultimately decided against it as he liked the matchup of Z-Bo on KD.
Durant settled for an in rhythm pull-up three-pointer which came up just short off the front of the rim. It really wasn’t a bad shot as Randolph gave plenty of space in anticipation of a drive to the hoop.
The Warriors shot 39 free throws to the Grizzlies’ 19, but netted just 26.7% (8-30 3p) from deep, leaving much to question in Durant’s decision not to take Randolph off the dribble.
Now, this play didn’t cost the Warriors the basketball game. But it will play a huge part in the overall development and growth of this Golden State team.
Draymond Green was livid as Steph Curry handed the ball over to Durant. He eventually made his way to the corner where he stood with his hands on his knees for the rest of the possession.
A timeout was called after the shot. Draymond took this opportunity to have a chat with Durant.
Draymond Green getting into KD for calling an ISO play in the last minute of Grizzlies/Warriors last night pic.twitter.com/a2cFFNzyhh— BallUpNBA ™ (@BallUpNBA) January 7, 2017
After the game, Draymond was asked exactly what he said to Durant but wisely chose to keep that between him and his team.
“That’s something we’ll figure out as a team,” Green said after the loss. “Everything is really not to be said outwardly. We’ll get better in-house. You win in-house, you lose in-house. It’s not really something that needs to be said outwardly or discussed.”
Green was most likely upset with the play call as the Warriors had zero assists in the quarter at that point in time. But that is just speculation. Draymond went on to say that the team still has work to do and that they are currently not improving like a team with championship aspirations should be.
These games are important for the Warriors. This is the type of adversity that they will face in the playoffs and its obvious they still have kinks to work out in late game situations. But luckily they are beginning to address these issues now with more than half of the season remaining.
To answer Jeff Cheal’s question, I don’t think it is time to panic. The Warriors body language towards the end of the game was not encouraging but its better than acting like they don’t care at all. Draymond is simply holding Durant accountable.
“Obviously, we have a long way to go,” Durant said after the game. “We’re still learning about each other. We’re still learning ourselves, especially in late game situations.”
This team is essentially learning how to play together on the fly. With the hectic off-season, that gives the Dubs about 60 games or so to figure out to come together and play their best basketball towards the end of the season, when it matters most.
Head coach Steve Kerr essentially summed up the entire season in one quote;
“We’re nearing the halfway point and trying to get better,” Kerr said. “We are going through the season and we’re trying to peak come playoff time. That’s the goal.”
Andrew Flohr is the credentialed writer for GSoM. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram and SnapChat.