Make this make sense.
Stephen Curry shot the ball 33 times for 33 points and the Golden State Warriors couldn’t buy threes on credit. Yet, they outscored the Orlando Magic 30-11 in the third to take a double digit lead in the fourth.
That was until the Warriors collapsed yet again and imploded down the stretch, falling to the Magic 103-96.
Horrid shooting and not enough offense
With the absence of Kevin Durant, it was up to the rest of the Warriors’ core to carry the load. While Curry, Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins tried, it wasn’t enough. Also, the way that these guys labored through the game was a bit concerning.
Curry scored 33 points on an extremely uncharacteristic 12-of-33 shooting. It was a given that Curry’s usage rate with Durant out of the lineup was going to increase. However, I don't believe that anyone envisioned Curry shooting 33 shots in the process. I also believe that they didn't imagine him shooting so poorly with those attempts either.
Curry missed a few key shots at the end. A 19-footer on his first possession late in the forth. His second shot, a 25-footer that’s been routine for him misses. With 1:08 remaining, Curry clanks a game-tying three.
“It’s frustrating when you have decent looks to keep the lead going and they don’t go, “ Curry said after the game. “Obviously I was extremely aggressive with KD out and Andre out. Just didn’t work in the fourth quarter.”
Bench woes continue
Against Orlando, the Warriors bench couldn’t muster enough of offense to hold down Curry, Klay Thompson, and DeMarcus Cousins. The second unit only scored 12 points compared to Orlando’s 35. There were some pockets in the game where Quinn Cook didn’t even attempt a shot, and only had two for the game. Shaun Livingston, Damion Lee and Kevon Looney didn’t score at all. Livingston didn't even attempt to shoot. Struggling from the field is understood. Missing very makable shots is frustrating. However, there is no excuse to not even attempt a shot.
Lack of crunch time defense
After a few sequences of empty possessions late in the fourth, The Warriors also struggled to defend. The Magic’s Terrence Ross capitalized on clean looks that was created by breakdowns in transition defense. After a few empty possessions for the Warriors, Ross gained another clean look. Even Kerr admitted that his defense lost Ross several times in the quarter. For the Warriors, Ross was the wrong player to lose.
Ross leads the league in bench threes with 156 made this season. Non one else has ever made more than 130. The Warriors’ bench only scrapped up 171 made three’s combined.
Cousins, upon his return in the game for Bell, committed an over the back foul which put the game out of reach.
This loss is the Warriors’ third loss in the past five games. These losses were marred by slow starts, poorly executed offense and undisciplined defense. Lately, the Warriors have been talking endlessly about what’s wrong and how to correct the issues. Curry cited commitment from everyone. Durant said that he needed to set the tone as far as aggressiveness on offense. The Warriors know what they need to do to refocus and lock in.
Whether they care enough to do it instead of talking about it among themselves and to the mainstream sports media still remains to be seen.