“Twas the night before Stephmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Except for Klay Thompson who threatened to burn down the house.”
We’re in that dead period between Christmas and New Year when no-one knows what the date is or what day it is even.
But one thing is for certain - it’s turkey sandwiches morning, noon and night. And of course we all know turkey is filled with tryptophan, which apparently makes you very sleepy.
Why do I mention this? Well, tonight was stuffed with more sloppy turnovers, lazy transition defense, and all around sleepy play than your Christmas bird was with sage and onion.
At the risk of getting indigestion, let’s dive into this turkey.
First quarter - Klay Thompson explodes
It all started out so promisingly. Klay Thompson was on fire, threatening to bust out one of those games. From mid-range to the three point line, he couldn’t miss.
Well except for the obligatory airballed crazy heat check.
Klay Thompson may have the most predictable heat checks in the NBA.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 30, 2017
But the Hornets weathered the early onslaught and the Warriors started chucking the ball around carelessly.
Meanwhile Dwight Howard had not only forgotten what day and date it was, but also what year.
As he channeled his 2009 self, the Warriors were struggling to contain the Beast of the East as he helped himself to a feast of dunks, lay-ups and even the odd jumper thrown in.
Once Zaza Pachulia went out there was no-one to match his physicality. There’s not many players the size of Howard, but this is a potential limitation of Jordan Bell as the starting center, and a reason to keep some brawn around inside.
There's a weakness for Bell, post D vs stronger players. Dwight able to spin right off him for the dunk.— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) December 30, 2017
The Hornets ended the quarter up 32-29, though this crazy Kevin Durant shot really should have counted...
Second quarter - the beginnings of a new death lineup?
The second quarter began with more of the same. Thompson continued to nail shots, while surrounded by sloppy play from pretty much everywhere else.
A particular problem was that many of the turnovers were of the live ball variety, which combined with some pretty lazy transition defense, gifted Charlotte too many easy points at the other end.
Perhaps one bright spot was David West, who as always turned up to play. The combination of West, Durant, and a nice feed from Bell led to this dunk.
About halfway through the quarter, Kerr turned to the Durant, Draymond Green, and Bell frontline. Immediately the defense turned up a notch and the Warriors went on a run.
It’s early days yet but this frontcourt looks pretty exciting. I can’t wait to see what it looks like with Steph Curry manning the point.
Thanks to the jolt of energy from the new deathly frontcourt, the Warriors closed the half all tied up.
Despite Klay Thompson’s 20 first half points, the key stat of the half was the Warriors trailing 15-5 in points off turnovers.
Third quarter struggles
After the momentum gathered before halftime, would the Warriors go on their traditional third quarter blitz and stroll to victory? After all, the Hornets had only won two road games all year.
Well, no. The half started with a scary moment as Durant appeared to tweak his ankle, but was able to return. He was not, however, having his best night. Rude words were overheard.
Rough Kevin Durant night so far: 4-of-14 shooting, only 3 rebounds, little defensive impact, 0 blocks. Just yelled 'f***' loudly after last brick.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 30, 2017
Dwight Howard was continuing to dominate, even hitting his free throws.
The Warriors’ lethargic play was compounded by a lack of aggressiveness. The ‘somebody shoot’ lineup was not helping.
Three Warriors on the floor who don't want to shoot--Iguodala, McCaw and Bell together in the third quarter--is not the usual offensive flow.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) December 30, 2017
Most likely he’s saving himself for the playoffs, but if Iguodala doesn’t look a bit more alive, we could see more of that Jordan Bell fellow than the so called “Hamptons Five.”
At least Shaun Livingston briefly threatened to wake up the dozing Oracle.
But overall the Warriors lacked aggression, and it showed up at the free throw line. Durant was the first Warrior to get to the line in the quarter with only eight seconds left. He sank both to somehow bring the Warriors within four points.
Fourth quarter - this turkey’s done
The fourth quarter opened as sloppy as the rest of the game. A telling tweet...
Points off turnovers tonight: Hornets 29, Warriors 9— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 30, 2017
By the time Kevin Durant entered the game there was five minutes to go and the Warriors were down 12. It looked this turkey was well and truly cooked.
To his credit Durant tried to bring some energy to the proceedings, with this last gasp effort.
But it was all too little, too late. More turnovers and sloppy play killed the game off.
Joe Lacob facepalm after the 16th Warriors turnover pic.twitter.com/Ld3iHp2zTD— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 30, 2017
We are all Joe Lacob’s facepalm.
Some killer stats to sum up the game:
- Warriors 13 free throws to the Hornets 34
- 17 turnovers for the Warriors
- Dwight Howard 29 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists, and a whopping 9-12 from the free throw line
- All the Warriors starters, and even supersubs West and Iguodala were a minus in the boxscore. Poor old Pat McCaw was a team worst -19.
Playing down to the competition?
Check out this list of home clunkers. With the exception of the opening night loss to the Rockets (ring nights are often weird), none of these teams is particularly good.
That's already five home losses for the Warriors this season. They went 39-2, 39-2 and 36-5 in Oracle the last three years -- 14-5 so far this year.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 30, 2017
The losses: Rockets, Pistons, Kings, Nuggets, Hornets
It was notable tonight that the Warriors failed to put their foot on the accelerator.
Without Steph Curry they have lacked their killer instinct at times. Curry may look like a choir boy, but on the court he’s as ruthless as they come.
Overall the Warriors were lethargic, lazy, and frankly, sleepy. They need a jolt of energy, perhaps even something of the divine.
In short, save us threesus.
In honour of tonight’s performance I’m bringing back the Tank Commander, in place of the Warrior Wonder. Let’s hope it’s temporary.
Who was tonight’s Tank Commander
This poll is closed
Live ball turnovers
Kevin Durant’s potty mouth
Goddammit, will one of you guys shoot the ball?
We are all Joe Lacob’s facepalm