It is one thing to lose and lose in some of the ugliest ways possible in this game. It happens from time to time. If you ask Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, ugly losses with this season’s squad will be a recurring theme. It’s another thing to lose without resistance. Without fight.
The Warriors didn’t even bother to try Sunday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder. But luckily for the Warriors, the chance to bounce back and turn the page can be as soon as the next day. Here’s how the Dub’s bounced back last night as they grabbed a much needed win against the New Orleans Pelicans, 134-123.
Shift in Energy
From the opening tip to the final buzzer, the Warriors had plenty of it after playing so listlessly against the Clippers on opening night and the Thunder on Sunday. The difference? Draymond Green setting the tone early, and the ‘baby Dubs’ had no choice but to take notice and follow.
Green played with a sense of urgency and hunger as he recorded his 23rd career triple double-a solid line of 16 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists. The new faces on the team matched that energy-beating the Pelicans on the glass 61 boards to 20. Forcing 15 turnovers and hustling for 50-50 balls. Most importantly, beating the Pelicans in transition. Green was the catalyst in all aspects.
“In the first two games, I didn't set a good tempo,” Green told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Kerith Burke. “We have a lot of young guys, and you have to lead them and that can go either way. the first couple of games, I led them the wrong way and I have to be better. Tonight, I was better.”
Hyper Small ball Lineup
New Orleans played without two starters last night. Guard Jrue Holiday’s left knee sprain ruled him out, while right knee soreness sidelined Derrick Favors. The Warriors exploited that by starting a small line up with a three guard line up of Stephen Curry, D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Poole, Glenn Robinson III at the four and Green playing center. As a result, the Warriors enjoyed a quick start that sustained them through most of the game. The Pelicans are an up tempo team that loves to play fast. The Warriors matched that same energy and also turned it against the Pelicans by forcing seven turnovers in the first half and scoring 22 points off of them.
Curry led the Warriors with 26 points he didn’t carry the burden of scoring alone. D’Angelo Russell, with his best performance as a Warrior to date, chipped in with 24 points. In addition to Curry, Russell and Green scoring in double figures, Damion Lee was huge off the bench scoring 23 points off of 8-for-14 shooting from the field and 4-for-6 from deep. Glenn Robinson III scored 12. This balanced scoring was a by product of making subtle adjustments to the players on the team while not totally abandoning who the warriors are offensively. Have the Warriors, figured out how to get the most out of the new faces on the roster? We will find out soon enough Wednesday night as the Dubs return to Chase against the Phoenix Suns.