Oof. The Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks are both performing below expectations. Yeah, it is awfully early in the season to even be slightly concerned - but still... can we get some wins!?
When: Monday, Oct. 23, 2017 • 5:30 PM PST
Where: American Airlines Center • Dallas, TX
How to watch: NBCSBA
Radio: 95.7 The Game, ESPN 103.3 FM / 1270 AM (ESP)
GSW: PG - Stephen Curry, SG - Klay Thompson, SF - Kevin Durant, PF - Draymond Green C - Zaza Pachulia
DAL: PG - J.J. Barea, SG - Wesley Matthews, SF - Harrison Barnes, PF - Dirk Nowitzki, (C) Nerlens Noel
GSW: All good?
DAL: Dennis Smith Jr. (swelling in left knee, Devin Harris (leave of absence after the tragic death of his brother) and Seth Curry (stress reaction in leg)
It’s been a rocky start to the season for our Warriors. After dropping a close game against the Houston Rockets to start the season, the Warriors have already dropped their second game of the young season. The issues are familiar to anyone who has watched any of the team's losses over the past few years. Instead of the well-tuned offensive machine that we are all accustomed to, we have mostly seen sloppy passes and perhaps more shockingly, equally sloppy defense.
Most of the post game coverage after the loss to the Grizzles has been about Stephen Curry’s ejection - but the game was essentially over at that point anyways. Rather than dwell on it, I think we can all expect Steph to do better keeping his cool. Also, perhaps he can consider a less gross method of showing his displeasure, the mouth guard toss is pretty gross!
This is an experienced team that understands what it needs to do better. Coach Kerr hasn’t drastically changed anything, as far as I can tell. As trite as it may sound, the Warriors just need to do a better job of executing. Here are my two key takeaways:
- Less reaching fouls for Steph - He gets all mad because he gets called for ticky tack reaching fouls while not getting reciprocal calls when he is mugged on offense. There’s a reason why coaches yell the same tired sayings from the sidelines - Steph needs to be better about playing defense with his feet. The lazy reach-in defense was a hallmark of Monta Ellis’ famed non-defense and it is no less frustrating watching Curry do it now.
- Over the course of the first three games, Kevin Durant has a whopping 19 turnovers. More than twice as much as the next player (Green has nine) and four times as many as the next guys (Curry and Pachulia with five apiece). I’m not going to over-simplify this because it is a combination of factors coming together and a small sample size. But still, this is not sustainable and needs to stop quickly. Just because there’s a lot of season left doesn’t negate our need to play good, consistent basketball.
While the Mavs were never expected to seriously contend for a top seed, this season has been the actualization of the preseason's worst-case scenarios. Dirk Nowitzki is one of the most popular players in the NBA, but in what may be his last year in the league, his defense is quickly becoming untenable. To slow to cover most players, and not strong enough to be a beast on the low block, Nowitzki is a walking target on the defensive end.
Compounding their issues on the other end of the floor, the Mavericks are without their starting backcourt. Seth Curry is out indefinitely with what’s being called a stress reaction. Dennis Smith jr., a promising young guard has some sort of knee swelling that will keep him out of this game as well. And on top of all that, reserve Devin Harris is on a leave of absence from the team after the tragic death of his brother.
Soooooo. Wow. That’s a LOT of their rotation, which is how we get the starting backcourt of JJ Barea and Wes Johnson. With Nerlens Noel still on a minutes restriction, it’s easy to imagine how tough it’s going to be for the Mavericks to field a competitive rotation.
Couldn’t come at a better time for the Warriors. This is a good opportunity to get back on track. But a loss to the Mavericks with their injury issues would be...troubling.