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sport / / BANG: Warriors must reset expectations after home letdown against Knicks

o BANG: Warriors must reset expectations after home letdown against KnicksAllen

BANG: Warriors must reset expectations after home letdown against Knicks


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From: (Allen)
Subject: BANG: Warriors must reset expectations after home letdown against
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2024 16:02:55 -0700
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 by: Allen - Tue, 19 Mar 2024 23:02 UTC

Warriors must reset expectations after home letdown against Knicks
The Warriors can no longer realistically aim for the No. 6 seed

>Golden State Warriors’ Brandin Podziemski (2) is called for a
defensive foul while guarding New York Knicks’ Josh Hart (3) in the
third quarter of their NBA game at Chase Center in San Francisco,
Calif., on Monday, March 18, 2024. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Danny Emerman is a Bay Area News Group sports reporter
By DANNY EMERMAN | | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: March 19, 2024 at 5:30 a.m. | UPDATED: March 19, 2024 at 1:07

SAN FRANCISCO — The Warriors looked like they turned a corner in Los
Angeles. They were fully healthy, had a rotation that clicked and played
a complete game to beat the Lakers, catapulting past their in-state
rivals in the West standings.

Yet a game later, the Warriors’ 119-112 loss at home to the Knicks
without Julius Randle and OG Anunoby revealed their inconsistency. They
didn’t lead for a single second, falling behind after a staggeringly
slow start that forced them to swim upstream the entire game. Defensive
breakdowns and an apparent effort deficit knocked Golden State back down
to the tenth seed.

The loss, which brought Golden State to 17-18 at Chase Center this year,
also served as a bit of a wake-up call.

“Maybe a week or two ago, the six seed was the motivation,” Steph Curry
said after the defeat. “Right now, I could care less about where (we’re)
at. It’s just the consistency of how we’re playing. That’s the most
important thing, because honestly who cares what seed you are if you
play like we did tonight, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, whatever it is it
doesn’t matter — you’re not going to get very far.”

“That’s the perspective and the focus: It doesn’t really matter where
the standings are,” the four-time champion added.

Curry’s sobering admission is a fair assessment. With 15 games
remaining, the Warriors (35-32) are running out of time to make the type
of run they’ve been talking about for weeks. And if they put up more
duds like they did Monday night, they’ll have to worry more about
Houston stealing their play-in spot from behind than advancing to a more
advantageous seed.

The tiebreaker scenarios with the teams above the Warriors — Phoenix,
Dallas and Sacramento — aren’t in their favor. Even a 17-6 upswing over
six weeks barely moved Golden State’s odds in the cluttered bottom half
of the Western Conference. Back then, Golden State had reasonable hopes
of escaping the do-or-die play-in round. As Curry said, that goal is
quickly becoming far-fetched.

“We think about it in the sense that we have confidence that we can be
the team we say we’re trying to be,” Curry said when asked about their
strong stretch.

After Monday’s loss to the Knicks, the Rockets are closer in the
standings to the Warriors (3 games back) than Golden State is to the
sixth-seeded Kings (4 games back).

“We’ve got to just take it one game at a time,” said rookie center
Trayce Jackson-Davis. “We’ve got 15 more, got to take it one at a time,
and we’ve got to be locked in.”

Not being “locked in,” with every game having such high stakes given
their circumstances, is tough to reconcile. Though Steve Kerr said the
slow start against New York wasn’t for a lack of effort, the starting
lineup that had coalesced began the game on a 3:54 scoring drought and
fell behind 20-8.

Before this year’s trade deadline, Curry said that it would be the
“definition of insanity” to continue doing the same thing and expecting
different results. Golden State wasn’t active at the deadline, but did
make changes. Steve Kerr replaced Klay Thompson with Brandin Podziemski
in the starting lineup, a move that has largely paid off. He gave Kevon
Looney’s minutes to Jackson-Davis, who has flourished in a larger role
as a rim-protecting lob threat who brings a different dynamic to the team.

But the Warriors don’t have many levers to pull at this point. They’ve
lost four of their last six, a stretch in which Curry missed three games
to a sprained ankle and wasn’t able to finish a fourth.

Before the Knicks loss, Kerr warned his team that New York would come
out of the gates swinging. The Warriors still started flat. Kerr also
told them that a goal of theirs for the rest of the season should be
defending their home court. They still don’t have any answers as to why
they’ve struggled at home.

Photos: Watch Steph and Ayesha Curry surprise Oakland Marathon runners
Warriors beat down at home by short-handed Knicks
How the end of Warriors-Lakers devolved into ‘bizarre’ mess
Warriors meet the moment to beat Lakers in possible play-in preview
‘You have to take the easy stuff away’: Why Warriors need to clean up
transition defense

“It’s always important to control your home floor,” Kerr said. “This has
been a strange season in that regard. We’ve been good at home for a long
time. Just haven’t been able to establish that dominance at home, and
that’s what’s keeping us from climbing in the standings.”

Another weight on their ankles: Golden State is 15-27 against winning
teams and 20-5 against sub-.500 ones. Their remaining schedule is the
third easiest in the league, with an average opponent win percentage of
..472. Nine of their last 15 games are on the road, which could play to
their curious strength.

There’s less than a month left for the Warriors to look like the
Warriors again. Is that enough time to regain momentum, to find the
necessary consistency?

“Absolutely,” Curry said. “Sorry for the short answer, but absolutely.”

sport / / BANG: Warriors must reset expectations after home letdown against Knicks


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