Michael Jordan once said, “I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something, but I can’t accept not trying.”
It wasn’t the fact the Golden State Warriors lost against the Dallas Mavericks tonight. If we’re keeping it a buck, they could have easily lost one of the three previous games against this scrappy squad.
Tonight it was all about the manner in which they lost.
There was no energy nor was there effort and focus. To put it quite bluntly, the Dallas Mavericks kicked the Warriors’ ass 126-91. This 35 point loss to the visiting Mavericks eclipsed the 33 point loss to the Celtics as the worst home loss in the Steve Kerr era.
The Load That’s Hard To Manage
Heading into tonight’s game against the visiting Dallas Mavericks, Warriors coach Steve Kerr decided to sit Stephen Curry, Shaun Livingston, and Andrew Bogut for load management.
But what about the load management for Kevin Durant and Quinn Cook?
Fatigue, slumps and jet lag can be handled with ease. However, that can't be said about the load of grief. Durant and Cook have been playing with heavy hearts in the wake of their friend’s murder outside of an Atlanta nightclub earlier in the week.
Durant was uncharacteristically inefficient tonight. Shooting 9 of 25 from the field and 0 for 8 from the three point line, and committed 3 turnovers to go with his four assists.
Cook also struggled from the field, scoring 7 points on 3 of 10 shooting.
Granted, their lines weren’t the best. However, it’s worth noting that these two are trying to play through their sorrow. Using these games as their sanctuary and refuge in the ensuing days. While their lines and performances are rightfully indicative of just a bad game, it’s also possible that while they are trying to play through their hurt they are still affected by it and it’s seeping into what happened on the court tonight.
The Warriors will play the second leg of a home back to back tomorrow when the Pistons come to Oracle. According to Kerr, he will rest more people and as tonight, who gets the rest is to be determined. Considering the events of the past week with Cliff Dixon’s murder, I believe sitting Durant and Cook to give them a free day to further process their feelings and properly grieve.
The Mavericks shot 21 for 49 for 42.9 percent from three. The Warriors didn’t play premeter defense and didn't make solid efforts to contest shots. It didn’t help matters any when an overmatched Cook tried to guard the Mavericks’ much bigger players.
While Dallas exploited their mismatches against Cook, I could only wonder and question the presence of help defense. No one seemed to help Cook and alleviate his struggles to guard.
Strange Shooting. Stranger shot selection.
The Warriors shot 40 percent from the field and 13.3 from three. Durant missed all eight of his threes. Klay Thompson missed his four attempts and shot 4 for 13. As the game progressed, the Warriors forced many jumpers instead of consistency attacking the Mavericks in the paint.
In the midst of the Warriors’ strange shooting night, DeMarcus Cousins was the most efficient tonight. He scored 19 points off of 8- of -11 shooting. What the Warriors should have done was to attack Dallas’ defense from the inside out.
The Warriors should have continued to feed Cousins to the point where it commands a double team on the block. The double team would have in turn, freed up some open looks for Durant or Thompson with a little bit of post split action.
With post splits, there could have been some open looks from three or mid range. However, the lack of perimeter defense would have been difficult to overcome.
Just throw the whole game away.
The Warriors host the Pistons tomorrow night at Oracle.