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sport / / Fast Break: A Failure To Adjust (Warriors 112, Knicks 119)

o Fast Break: A Failure To Adjust (Warriors 112, Knicks 119)Robin Miller

Fast Break: A Failure To Adjust (Warriors 112, Knicks 119)


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From: robin.mi...@invalid.invalid (Robin Miller)
Subject: Fast Break: A Failure To Adjust (Warriors 112, Knicks 119)
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2024 12:27:07 -0400
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 by: Robin Miller - Tue, 19 Mar 2024 16:27 UTC

A Failure To Adjust (Warriors 112, Knicks 119)

Posted on March 18, 2024 by viggy

The Golden State Warriors entered Monday night’s contest against the New
York Knicks nominally at full strength – their injury report was clear.
The Knicks, on the other hand, were outrageously banged up, with Julius
Randle, OG Anunoby, and Mitchell Robinson (3 rotation players) all ruled
out. What followed was as deflating a loss as you can imagine. The
Knicks burst out of the gates to a 15 point lead. The Warriors mounted
at least 7 mini-comebacks over the course of the game, but never got
closer than 4. The 119-112 defeat sends the Warriors back to three games
behind the 6 seed in the ferocious Western Conference and leaves them
with zero answers to highly pertinent tough questions. Time and again,
the Dubs have measured themselves against the best teams in the league
and been found lacking.

The Warriors, for well over a decade, have been a team ruled by
consistency, routine, and rhythm. Their rotations have focused on
predictability, their lineups have been stable, and the times that they
have deviated from the norm (such as the decision to plant Andrew Bogut
on Tony Allen or start Andre Iguodala in the Finals) are remembered for
their novelty. It struck me tonight, watching this version of the team
in person, that these Warriors are notable for their lack of consistency
and rhythm. The Dubs’ best player tonight was probably Trayce
Jackson-Davis, who tallied 19 points on 9-9 shooting, to go with 4
boards and 4 assists. Their second-best player was Klay Thompson, who
gave them a passable scoring punch after a very rough start. Their third
best player was either Gary Payton II (who, one mind-numbingly silly
landing space foul aside, was seemingly the only player interested in
playing point-of-attack defense) or Chris Paul (whose ability to
snake-dribble to his spot and hit some tough middies kept the Warriors
within striking distance). None of these players started the game for
the Warriors – they accounted for 26, 31, 17, and 20 minutes respectively.

To put it mildly, the starters were terrible. Andrew Wiggins’s shot,
confidence, and energy are all gone – he finished 2-9 from the field and
inspires zero confidence when dribbling, passing, or shooting, although
his defense remains energetic and his rebounding has improved. Brandin
Podziemski has hit the rookie wall with the force of a coconut falling
from a palm tree – he tallied just 2 points and 2 assists in 25 minutes,
finishing 0-2 from the floor. Draymond Green had one of the worst games
I’ve seen from him in a long time – he was 1-7 from the field, could not
handle the size of Isaiah Hartenstein, failed to marshal the defense in
the octopus-like manner we are used to, and had innumerable terrible
giveaways. If there was a starter who showed some spirit, it was
Jonathan Kuminga, who nearly single-handedly willed the starters back
into the game. But he got benched in crunch time after a series of
out-of-control plays. And Steph, still easing his way back into things
after his ankle injury, looked completely discombobulated early and
still cannot find the range on his three point shooting. The Warriors
survived his struggles against the Lakers because after Anthony Davis
exited the game, Steph and co. lived at the rim. Against the towering,
bruising, physical Knicks, the elder Warriors chucked up a hail of
jumpshots. Not enough of them went down to win them the game.

The point of this player-by-player analysis is to illustrate that on a
game-by-game basis, the Warriors’ best and worst players are totally
unpredictable. But the coaching staff continues to operate with a level
of predictability / stubbornness that beggars belief. Look, even before
Podz hit the wall, Warriors fans could have told you that unless Andrew
Wiggins found his groove, a lineup of Steph / Podz / Wiggs / Kuminga /
Draymond would not garner respect from defenses – it just doesn’t have
enough shooting. And now each of Wiggs / Podz / Draymond can’t seem to
buy a jumpshot. We could also have told you that compensating for this
by playing Steph and CP3 together would leave you exposed on defense.
And we’ve been shouting for months that Dario Saric is a 4, not a 5, and
that Trayce Jackson-Davis and Moses Moody need more minutes. And yet,
Klay Thompson is still stapled to the bench, Podz is still starting, and
if Stephen Curry is even slightly human, the Warriors are cooked because
their starters can’t keep pace with the opposition.

At a high level, I do not think this roster is talented enough to
contend, and I’ve been saying that since late last year. But that
doesn’t mean the coaching staff gets to throw in the towel or take their
hands off the wheel – if anything, a limited roster like this is a
chance for the coaching staff to shine and earn some wins through their
skill and ingenuity. Instead, the Dubs continue to scuffle and get
exposed against the best teams in the league, especially at home (their
record at Chase Center is a putrid 17-17). And for a team fighting for
its life, there is no excuse for consistently coming out as flat as they
have. “I didn’t have them ready to play” loses its luster after the
twentieth time you hear it. When the Dubs demolished the Bucks a few
weeks ago, my confidence in this team was soaring. But subsequent events
have brought me back down to earth in a major way. There are 16 games
left in this season. We’ll see what’s left in the tank.

sport / / Fast Break: A Failure To Adjust (Warriors 112, Knicks 119)


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