The Golden State Warriors got their lunch money stolen on New Year’s Day by the Portland Trail Blazers, and fell 123-98. Before the game, I laid out my keys to victory; suffice to say, it didn’t go well.
Let’s torture ourselves and revisit them, shall we?
Play with energy
The key: Bring energy and commitment for a full 48 minutes, or at least three quarters.
The outcome: Here’s what Steve Kerr said afterwards: “The start of the game was disappointing, we just didn’t have very much energy … I didn’t like our overall engagement, our mentality.”
That kind of says it all. The Warriors got punched in the mouth, and didn’t really do much about it.
In their defense, they kept their foot on the gas in the third and even fourth quarters. But it was just a lackluster effort.
Grading the key: 3 out of 10
Solid Steph defense
The key: Steph Curry play solid defense on Portland’s guards, and keep CJ McCollum from erupting.
The outcome: CJ McCollum definitely erupted. He made four three-pointers in the opening minutes and seemed to seal the game before the first quarter ended.
I thought Curry played fine defense, but fine isn’t good enough against arguably the best offensive backcourt in the league. In Curry’s defense, however, his teammates didn’t do so well either.
Grading the key: 3.5 out of 10
The key: Keep it simple with the offensive plays, and rely on things that work.
The outcome: After the Detroit game, Steve Kerr admitted that he had spent too much time focusing on complex off-ball and motion offense elements, and that he needed to simplify things.
That didn’t happen.
Agreed. The best coaches adapt the system to best maximize the talents of the players. Steve Kerr has done none of that with these Warriors. Zero.— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) January 2, 2021
Kerr must change things soon or this will get uglier. Start by running more pick-and-roll with Curry and Wiseman. Keep it simple. https://t.co/SVIyKG6azU
Grading the key: 1 out of 10
The key: Get out in transition on offense.
The outcome: The Warriors had 17 points in transition, to just 11 for Portland. And it likely would have been more had their defense actually generated stops.
They did a pretty decent job pushing when they could, and it created some of their best looks on offense.
Grading the key: 6 out of 10
Better luck Sunday. Please.