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sport / / NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors flunk first test without Steph in loss to Spurs

o NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors flunk first test without Steph in loss to SpursRobin Miller

NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors flunk first test without Steph in loss to Spurs


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From: robin.mi...@invalid.invalid (Robin Miller)
Subject: NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors flunk first test without Steph in loss to
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2024 17:38:41 -0400
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 by: Robin Miller - Sun, 10 Mar 2024 21:38 UTC

Warriors flunk first test without Steph in loss to Spurs

By Monte Poole

• Published March 9, 2024

SAN FRANCISCO – Facing the first test during the temporary absence of
Stephen Curry, the Warriors had reason for confidence. They were at home
against the San Antonio Spurs, the most compliant team in the Western

Curry’s absence, however, is not a valid excuse for the flunking that
took place on the Chase Center floor Saturday night.

The Warriors spent the first half in such a languid daze that the Spurs,
who live in the conference cellar, largely because of their 27th-ranked
offense, could exploit them without mercy. It got no better in the third
quarter, either.

Or the fourth, which ended with the Warriors and the sellout crowd of
18,064 looking at a 126-113 loss and wondering how on earth that could
happen given what’s at stake.

“It was tough,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We just never had any traction.
I didn’t feel like we had confidence or energy. Their pace and their
movement bothered us. And then we had some breakdowns. It just felt like
we were never really in the game.”

Once the Spurs built a double-digit lead in the second quarter, the
Warriors got no closer than nine (68-59) on a Klay Thompson 3-ball with
7:45 remaining in the third quarter. San Antonio led by as much as 21.

While the Spurs operate with low expectations as they rebuild around
promising rookie Victor Wembanyama – who missed Saturday's game with
ankle sprain – the Warriors are supposed to be in desperation mode as
they pursue a guaranteed playoff berth.

Yet the Spurs were, for most of the evening, the more engaged squad. The
Warriors struggled to find offensive rhythm and their defense was a
barely a rumor of a shadow. Feasting on open looks, San Antonio shot
51.2 percent from the field – including a season-high 51.5 percent from

“We just weren’t connected as much on defense,” Jonathan Kuminga said.
“We did not scramble as much. That’s one thing we’ve got to do next game
and in the upcoming games. Be connected at the very beginning of the
game and just lock in.”

If this reads like a critique of Golden State’s focus, well, it is. And
it’s fair, which should be beneath any team sprinting down the stretch
of a season.

The Warriors response to San Antonio’s relentless attacks was less than
tepid. They were outworked, outshot across the board, managed fewer
fastbreak points and were outrebounded by 10.

Thompson scored a team-high 27 points on solid efficiency (8-of-16,
5-of-10 from deep) and Kuminga snapped awake to score 19 of his 26
points during a belated, ill-fated comeback attempt in the fourth quarter.

Kerr’s starting lineup – Chris Paul, Brandin Podziemski, Kuminga,
Draymond Green, Trayce Jackson-Davis – never generated any flow. Through
three quarters, they managed only 39 points as a unit.

The Warriors last lead came with 5:12 left in the first quarter. They
spent the rest of the game crawling uphill.

“When we subbed, it was 9-9,” Kerr said, referring to the opening
minutes. “Our defense was fine. But as the game went on, we had multiple
breakdowns. They got to the rim at will. We gave up 28 free throws and
17 3s. You’ve got to stop something. I thought they got anything they
wanted all night.”

Among the disappointments were the performances by Podziemski, who again
started, and reserve wing Moses Moody. Both capable youngsters have been
crucial to Golden State’s late-season surge, but they combined to score
17 points on 4-of-18 shooting from the field, including 1-of-7 beyond
the arc.

They haven’t looked this pitiful since, well, they gulped down a
51-point loss to the Celtics last Sunday in Boston. Such is the way the
Warriors wrapped up their three-game homestand? With back-to-back losses
to sub-.500 teams.

The pregame update on Curry’s status, that he will be reevaluated on
Tuesday, is the only silver lining. It suggests it’s possible that he
could return as soon as next week.

If the Warriors enter April on the slow train to the NBA play-in
tournament, as now projected, there will be many games to blame –
perhaps none more than this profoundly puzzling performance.

sport / / NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors flunk first test without Steph in loss to Spurs


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