Steve Kerr on Draymond Green: “What’s happened over the last year it has been disappointing and we are really counting on Draymond to make some strides with this stuff, and we’re confident that he will be able to and that he’ll be able to come back and play at a high level.”…— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) January 4, 2024
Seven words: I’m still here, and I still matter.
The Warriors didn’t really need to read it, but the message needed to reach those outside their bubble.
Looney has spent most of this season undiscussed, particularly when related to Golden State’s big men. There has been considerable talk about how veteran Dario Sarić, with his shooting range and passing ability, is such a seamless match for the offense. The conversation surrounding rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis has evolved from “When will he get a chance to play?” to “He’s adding a dimension this team really needed.”
Looney? What little has been said has focused largely on his usual modest numbers. No need to get into his inability to stretch the floor like Sarić or finish at the rim like Jackson-Davis, because that’s never been Loon’s game. Never will be.
Rebounding and screening, doing both until his body barks, is Looney’s calling. And Tuesday night, with the Magic’s battalion of big men battering the Warriors on the glass, his value suddenly skyrocketed.
Paul is starting to find his jumper. He made all three of his 3s against the Magic and has made 13 of his 21 attempted 3s the last four games, bringing his season percentage from deep to nearly 36 percent after a frigid start.
“It ain’t ever felt bad,” Paul said. “I’ve been a shooter my whole life. If it don’t go in, still you gotta keep shooting.”
The Warriors now have a losing record both with Draymond Green (7-8) and without him (8-9). The defense has been worse (117.3 points allowed per 100 possessions) in the games he’s missed, though it’s still been better in his total minutes off the floor (113.6 allowed per 100) than it’s been in his minutes on the floor (118.0).
Over the three-game losing streak, Stephen Curry has an effective field goal percentage of just 40.2%. That’s his worst three-game stretch of shooting since January of 2022.
Steve Kerr made another lineup change on Saturday, replacing Brandin Podziemski and Kevon Looney with Chris Paul and Trayce Jackson-Davis. They’ve outscored their opponents by 7.2 points per 100 possessions in 256 total minutes with Paul, Curry and Klay Thompson on the floor together, but the new group was a minus-5 at the start of the first quarter and a minus-1 at the start of the third against Dallas, allowing 28 points on just 20 defensive possessions, even though the Mavs shot just 2-for-7 from 3-point range.
Tyrese Haliburton’s historic assist bender continues ... as does Pacers’ ownership of Bucks | CBS Sports
Tyrese Haliburton continues to outdo himself. Less than a week after becoming the third player in history, and the first in three decades, to register consecutive 20-point/20-assist games, Haliburton put up another historic stat line in Indiana’s win over the Bucks on Wednesday with 31 points, 12 assists, three blocks and zero turnovers.
Throw in five made 3-pointers, and Haliburton is now the first player in history to reach those single-game thresholds. His 76 assists against seven turnovers over his last five games is also an NBA record for ratio.
Take out the five made 3-pointers, and Haliburton is just the second player in history even to register 30 points, 10 assists and three blocks with zero turnovers, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. This marks the third time this season that Haliburton has recorded at least 10 assists with zero turnovers, double the amount any other player has amassed.
Throughout the game, the Lakers’ body language reflected a team in the middle of a horrible slump. LeBron James simply looking to the bench and shrugging after a wasted possession against the Heat’s zone ended with a forced three that he missed.
James declined to speak postgame.
“The unforced turnovers are the ones that really hurt you,” Ham said after. “… And it’s human nature for you to get down and disappointed when those unfortunate things happen. But at the end of the day, it’s NBA basketball. It’s extremely hard to win in this league. You have to really pour all of yourself into each and every possession or as many as possible. And we’ll figure it out. There’s a lot of time left — but the time is precious. We have to get to it [and] figure it out.”
The NBA's best pick-and-roll pairs. pic.twitter.com/Pqy6qMz5ch— Todd Whitehead (@CrumpledJumper) January 3, 2024
In case you missed it at Golden State of Mind:
11. Golden State Warriors — 16-17 record, +1.0 net rating (13th in the NBA)
Even with the abysmal three-game stretch to end 2023, the Warriors have been a top-10 team by both record and net rating since mid-December. Critically, they’ve had the fifth-best offense in the league during that time, trailing only the Boston Celtics, Clippers, Thunder, and Milwaukee Bucks.
The Dubs have more questions than answers right now, but we’re at least starting to see the image of a good team come into focus.
GPII looked completely healthy at the start of the year, but things have gone downhill since. An illness kept him out of an early-November game, while a foot strain sidelined him for three games in the middle of the month. He then injured his calf during a November 28 loss to the Sacramento Kings, and that kept him out until Saturday.
Now he’s back to the sidelines and, based on his reaction on Tuesday, justifiably frustrated.
Let’s hope he can get healthy soon and, more importantly, let’s hope he can stay healthy. The team needs it, and more importantly, GPII deserves it.