Good Morning Dub Nation,
The Golden State Warriors came away with the 130-125 victory on Sunday night against the Sacramento Kings. However, the final score was a lot closer than it should have been for the Warriors despite them being up by 19 points going into the game’s final quarter.
Sacramento’s late game surge against the Golden State’s bench unit forced their starters back into action with about five minutes left in regulation. As a result of resting at the end of the third and most of the fourth quarter, the starters came in cold — missing shot after shot as the Kings nearly completed the comeback as time expired.
The large disparity between the starters and the bench unit is becoming a pattern through the first three games of the season. Anthony Slater of The Athletic discussed this in his article following last night’s game.
Steph Curry admitted it after the game. Yes, he said, he did believe his night was done when he checked out late in the third quarter. The Warriors were up 24 on a Kings team that had shown no ability to defend them for consecutive possessions. The shoelaces were loosened.
But there’s nothing currently reliable about the Warriors when a bench player hits the floor. Through three games, their established veteran starting lineup — Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, and Kevon Looney — has crushed opponents by 43 points in 41 minutes. All other lineup combinations are a cumulative minus-29.
The Warriors did eventually beat the Kings 130-125. They are 2-1. But a shaky fourth quarter laid bare their biggest October blemish. As they transition to a bench loaded with unproven youth and coach Steve Kerr spends the early season experimenting with various five-man groups, any lead is vulnerable to a sudden erosion.
With that being said, there are several factors that might account for this. Head coach Steve Kerr may still be experimenting with different combinations to find optimal lineups that he could use later on. In addition, several Warriors starters are still on a minutes restriction so mixing and matching of starters and bench players haven’t occurred as often. Finally, it just takes time and reps for the young players on the second unit to build the chemistry and experience that the starters already have with each other.
It’s still early, but hopefully balance within the second-unit continues to improve as the season moves along.
Here are the rest of today’s stories:
In case you missed it from Golden State of Mind:
- Warriors vs. Kings Recap
- The defensive miscues of the Warriors’ all-bench lineup
- Player grades: Warriors vs. Nuggets
- Warriors honor Run TMC era with high-scoring, no-defense loss to the Nuggets, 128-123
Other Warriors News:
- Warriors beat Kings, lose Donte DiVincenzo, still in search of second-unit rhythm (The Athletic)
- Steve Kerr, Mike Brown six-year coaching partnership crucial to Warriors’ golden age (The Athletic)
- Can The Warriors Keep Breaking The Rules Of NBA Title Contention? (FiveThirtyEight)
- Steph Curry surprised this Warriors staffer with her title ring: ‘She does so much’ (San Francisco Chronicle)
- How Kerr has fared in first game vs. his former Dubs coaches (NBC Sports Bay Area)
- Adam Silver says NBA monitoring ‘serious’ tanking issue, sources say (ESPN)
- Caleb Martin suspended, Christian Koloko fined for scuffle (ESPN)
- LeBron James bricked a logo 3 so badly people are calling it the worst shot of his career (SB Nation)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo’s performance against the Rockets leaves people speechless (The Athletic)
- Kia MVP Ladder: 25 names to watch in 2022-23 season (NBA)