Coming off the heels of a demoralizing defeat in Atlanta on Monday, the Golden State Warriors followed it up by yet another shameful loss in a season chock full of them, as the Charlotte Hornets sweep the season series 106-91 in front of an underwhelming Spectrum Center crowd.
Lack Of Perimeter Defense
Golden State was down four at halftime and took a two point lead early in the third quarter until the Hornets outscored the Dubs 23-11 over the quarter’s final nine minutes. The reason? no solid perimeter defense. The Dubs entered last night’s game with the fifth-worse 3-point defense in the league. Opponents have been shooting 42.7 percent against it.
Hornets guard Devontae’ Graham had a splash party on Trade Street with all expenses paid by the visitors. All of Graham’s game high and season high 33 points came from behind the arc—tying Kemba Walker for most threes in a game. For a player who is second in three’s made, you would think that the Warriors would have at least pinched Graham on defense. Instead, the 6’1 guard thrived off of open looks. Taking advantage of a Warriors’ defense that was slow to recover and struggled on switches.
Up until recently, the Warriors were actually able to keep the turnovers down. Now, they have turned State Farm Arena and now the Spectrum Center in their own personal bakeries. After committing a season high of 25 turnovers in Atlanta on Monday, the Warriors committed 17 in Charlotte. The Hornets feasted off of live ball turnovers in transition as they scored 23 points off of the Warriors’ giveaways.
A ‘Big’ Problem
Remember when the Warriors had a lack of healthy centers at the beginning of the season? Now all of their bigs-Marqueese Chriss, Kevon Looney, Omari Spellman and Willie Cauley-Stein are all healthy at the same time.
For stretches of the game, Kerr had two bigs on the floor. As he pared Looney with Cauley-Stein and Spellman with Chriss. The result? weird spacing and more turnovers than points. D’Angelo Russell operated with enough of space for his points. However, with Draymond Green shooting below 30 percent and the bigs crowding the paint, the Hornets trapped Russell with much success as the Warriors struggled with missed shots in the paint and turnovers.
Since this is the latest incarnation of the roster, head coach Steve Kerr will have to not only efficiently disperse minutes to this unit but tinker with schemes to put them in the best position to win.
Don’t be surprised if you see more of Cauley-Stein in upcoming games. Russell is back from his injury and Cauley-Stein was signed to be a lob threat in pick and roll sets. I expect to see this pairing frequently as soon as Friday against the Bulls.