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Warriors week in review: No such thing as a winnable game anymore

The Warriors finish with a 0-3 record against the Grizzlies, Knicks, and Jazz.

New York Knicks v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

So this moron wrote this last week:

The Warriors already destroyed the Grizzlies earlier this season by a score of 114-95. The Knicks just fired their head coach and are the only team in the league with a worse record than the Warriors. Those two games are indeed winnable. Extending this current one-game streak to three by the end of Wednesday is by no means a preposterous claim — it’s entirely possible.

Winnable? In this economy? With no Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson? With a bunch of rookies and journeymen who can’t play defense? PLEASE.

The Warriors went 0-3 this past week, despite two “winnable” games. I officially move to strike the term “winnable” from the Warriors’ season vocabulary. I’m using “cautious optimism” from now on.

Grade the Warriors’ week

I found last week’s format of mini-recaps coupled with going over the current state of the Warriors offense and defense pretty effective, so we’ll stick with that for now.

Warriors (102) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (110) - L

  • Offensive rating: 96.2
  • Defensive rating: 102.8
  • Net rating: -6.6
  • Key stat: Grizzlies’ field-goal percentage (50.0 percent on 41-of-82 shooting)

In a battle between two leading Rookie-of-the-Year candidates, the Grizzlies’ Ja Morant severely out-dueled the Warriors’ Eric Paschall. Morant scorched the Warriors to the tune of 26 points on shooting splits of .571/.600/.875, to go along with 7 assists. On the other hand, Paschall scored a measly 5 points on an abysmal 2-of-10 clip from the field.

The Grizzlies’ plan for getting back at the Warriors for their blowout loss earlier this season at Memphis was to lock down on defense, and lock the Warriors down, they did. The Warriors shot a horrific 37.6 percent from the field, and their Swiss-cheese defense couldn’t stop Morant and the Grizzlies offense, who shot 50.0 percent from the field which included a 15-of-40 line from beyond the arc.

Warriors (122) vs. New York Knicks (124) - L

  • Offensive rating: 110.9
  • Defensive rating: 112.7
  • Net rating: -1.8
  • Key stat: Warriors’ three-point percentage (27.0 percent on 10-of-37 shooting)

A lot of you were probably thinking that out of all of the winnabl...err, “cautiously optimistic” games the Warriors have had this season, this game against the Knicks was the one the Warriors had the most to be optimistic about. After all, the Knicks are the worst-run organization in the league, had an abysmal record like the Warriors, and had poor roster construction that resulted in about 90 percent of their roster being composed of power forwards.

Whether the Warriors genuinely lost to the Knicks or it was due to the machinations of their nefarious and shadowy tank commander, the fact is that losing to the Knicks, no matter who you are, is considered embarrassing, to the point that your team has reached its lowest point achievable.

The game actually turned out to be a barn-burner, helped out by the Warriors rallying from what was once a 22-point lead by the Knicks. D’Angelo Russell’s clutch three in the dying seconds of the fourth quarter sent the game into a period of free basketball, but the Knicks took over in overtime to save themselves from being hailed as the league’s worst team.

Instead, that distinction went to the team that was once hailed as the best team in the league during the same calendar year. Talk about a 180-degree twist of fate.

Warriors (106) at Utah Jazz (114) - L

  • Offensive rating: 108.2
  • Defensive rating: 115.2
  • Net rating: -7.0
  • Key stat: The Jazz’s three-point shooting clip (16-of-38, 42.1 percent)

The Warriors led this game at halftime, 56-49. They were playing exceptional defense, while rendering the Jazz’s defensive anchor, Rudy Gobert, ineffective on both ends of the floor. At that point, Warriors fans were probably thinking, “We lost to the Knicks but we’re winning against the Jazz?? I GIVE UP!”

Some fans probably did give up after this game, but for an altogether different reason. The Jazz went on to outscore the Warriors in the second half, 65-50. Gobert got things going in the second half, and the Jazz gave the Warriors a massive licking from three-point range, finishing with 16 makes out of 38 attempts from beyond the arc. Half of those makes came from Bojan Bogdanovic, who shot 8-of-13 on threes, tying his single-game career-high. The Warriors also had no answer for Donovan Mitchell, who scored 28 points and ran circles around the Warriors’ perimeter defense.

State of the Warriors offense

There isn’t much left to be said about the Warriors offense, other than the fact that it continues to be among the worst, if not the absolute worst. The return of Russell to active duty, despite his ability to be that main scoring option the Warriors have been lacking for the past few weeks, hasn’t made a significant overall impact. (Although, if not for Russell, the Warriors wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be competitive against the Knicks.)

In short, the Warriors offense still sucks. No sugarcoating it, folks.

State of the Warriors defense

The Warriors defense remains steady — no significant improvement compared to last week, but also no discernible sign of regression. In terms of efficiency, they’re not the worst defense in the league anymore — that dubious distinction belongs to the Washington Wizards.

One notable improvement in defense is the jump in blocks per game for the Warriors, who are steadily improving in that department. Such an improvement is coinciding with an improvement in points allowed in the paint. Credit must be given to the Warriors’ corps of big men — Marquese Chriss, Omari Spellman, and yes, even Willie Cauley-Stein — for showing energy and hustle on the defensive end, especially in terms of rim protection.

Final grade

In three games this past week, the Warriors put up shooting splits of .420/.323/.753. They averaged 110.0 points, 46.7 rebounds, 23.0 assists, 12.0 turnovers, 9.7 steals, and 6.3 blocks. They garnered an offensive rating of 105.1, a defensive rating of 110.1, and a net rating of minus-5.0.

They went 0-3 against two bottom-tier teams in the NBA — including one who was arguably the worst team in all of the NBA — and one playoff-caliber team from the Western Conference.

The offense needed to improve, and there was some sort of improvement expected with Russell’s return to the lineup and having gotten time to get himself into game fitness. But the offense didn’t improve — it stayed right where it was, among the worst in the league. The defense, although still not good, stayed steady.

I was thinking of giving the Warriors a grade of D, mostly due to their great showing against the Jazz last Friday, all things considered. But their loss to the Knicks left an incredibly sour taste in my mouth. Sure, they might be tanking, but there’s a sense of pride involved whenever the Knicks are in the conversation. No one should lose to the Knicks, ever. Including these Warriors.

Because of that, I’m giving the Warriors their first failing grade of the season — a well-deserved F.

Upcoming slate of games

The Warriors will start their week with a game tonight against the Sacramento Kings at Chase Center. They will then have two days off before traveling to Portland for their rematch against the Trail Blazers on Wednesday. They will finish the week back at home against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.

The Kings are currently the 7th seed in the West, surprising everyone with their status as a possible playoff team in the West. As presently constructed, the Kings are a better team than the Warriors — they are currently the 3-point betting favorites according to Vegas.

The Blazers and the Pelicans are two teams the Warriors have previously beaten, so it’s not entirely impossible that the Warriors will garner repeat victories over them. But they are in full tank mode, or at least it seems that way; predicting wins against teams the Warriors can seemingly beat is getting harder and harder without making yourself look like a complete idiot.

But fine, let’s just say I’m “cautiously optimistic” about the Warriors’ chances this week.


How will the Warriors do against the Kings, Blazers, and Pelicans?

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