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Warriors go backwards in blowout loss to Blazers

Another good opponent, another blowout loss.

Portland Trail Blazers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Ezra Shaw/undefined

It’s not hard to spot the early season trend for the Golden State Warriors. These are their five games:

Good opponent: blowout loss
Good opponent: blowout loss
Bad opponent: narrow win
Bad opponent: narrow win
Good opponent: blowout loss

The Portland Trail Blazers offered themselves up as a barometer after Golden State showed noticeable improvement in their win over the Detroit Pistons. Here was a good-not-great team that the Dubs could test themselves against.

One 123-98 loss later, and the test was emphatically failed.

It didn’t help that the Blazers came out at a ... well ... blazing clip, making threes at an unsustainable rate. CJ McCollum made his first four shots from deep, and as a whole the Blazers made 10 of their first 15 (they finished 20-for-43 from deep, a 46.5% rate). After the game, Steph Curry called it, “Deflating to see threes go in left and right.”

The Blazers made them from the left side and the right side. They made them from the corner and from eight feet beyond the arc. They made them wide open and heavily contested.

And by the time you blinked, they’d opened up a 20-point lead, and it felt like the game was over.

The Warriors scratched and clawed at times. The second unit that opened up the second quarter went on a run, led by some tremendous minutes from Eric Paschall, who played small ball center and repeatedly torched Enes Kanter.

In the third quarter the Warriors cut the lead to single digits, even though it turned back into a 25-point deficit in the time it took you to pour another drink.

It was ugly, particularly on defense, where Steve Kerr was quite critical. He called the team “Not connected defensively,” and lamented that, “We literally talk every game about not fouling and then we just foul. We mindlessly reach.”

The offense took it’s sweet time showing up as well, in part because the defense didn’t create opportunities.

Still, you could see some improvements. The ball moved substantially better with Draymond Green on the floor, and the defense was far more active (Green only played 18 minutes, though he grabbed four rebounds and assists in those minutes). Curry got it rolling in the second half, and finished with 26 points on 9-for-20 shooting (4-for-12 from deep), 8 rebounds, and 5 assists, with only a single turnover.

But the best news might have been that James Wiseman said he was “Good” after rolling his ankle late in the game, with Steve Kerr saying he doesn’t expect Wiseman to miss any time.

That next game is on Sunday. It’s against the same Blazers team.

It’s another chance to prove that some growth has been made.

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