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sport / alt.sports.basketball.nba.gs-warriors / NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors' tough loss to Mavs is reminder of challenges ahead

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o NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors' tough loss to Mavs is reminder of challenges aheadRobin Miller

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NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors' tough loss to Mavs is reminder of challenges ahead

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From: robin.mi...@invalid.invalid (Robin Miller)
Newsgroups: alt.sports.basketball.nba.gs-warriors
Subject: NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors' tough loss to Mavs is reminder of
challenges ahead
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 by: Robin Miller - Sun, 7 Apr 2024 14:16 UTC

https://www.nbcsportsbayarea.com/nba/golden-state-warriors/tough-mavericks-loss-challenges/1721268/

Warriors' tough loss to Mavs is reminder of challenges ahead

By Monte Poole

• Published April 5, 2024

Going into the locker room Friday night with a two-point halftime lead
over the Dallas Mavericks, Warriors guard Brandin Podziemski was hopeful
enough to express optimism about the future.

Make that extreme optimism.

“We’re just playing with desperation,” Podziemski said during his
halftime interview with the NBC Sports Bay Area broadcast team. “We know
our season is on the line. We’re trying to get up to that six seed,
being only three games back.”

The six seed? OK. The 10th-place Warriors had, after all, found their
defensive mojo. They’d won six consecutive games and, after wiping out
an early 16-point deficit, were halfway to extending the streak to
seven. That would lift them closer to that coveted but still remote
position in the Western Conference standings.

The Warriors could get a full game nearer if Draymond Green could muster
another superhuman performance and if Stephen Curry could overcome the
Mavericks coming at him with every tool in their garage.

Or if their late-game defense could hold up.

Draymond could not. Steph could not, though he came close. And the
late-game defense was one stop away from at least sending the game into
overtime. The result was a 108-106 loss in Dallas that is a reminder of
the challenges still ahead for Golden State.

With the Warriors four games behind the sixth-place Phoenix Suns, with
five games remaining, the No. 6 seed is a few miracles away. And those
have been exceedingly rare this season.

This was Golden State’s 45th “clutch” game. There will be more, whether
during the remaining five regular-season games or any game beyond. The
Warriors’ 2023-24 record in those games defines their season. Too many
close games have gone to their opponent.

They had reason to believe this one could go their way. When Curry
swished a step-back jumper to tie the game 106-106 with 13 seconds
remaining, Dallas called a timeout to set up a play against a Golden
State’s defense that has been terrific during its win streak.

The Mavericks were without franchise player Luka Dončić but still have
the fabulous Kyrie Irving. No problem.

Dallas inbounded to Irving. Immediately double-teamed by Gary Payton II
and Green, Irving passed to Tim Hardaway Jr., defended by Klay Thompson.
Thompson made one false move, and Hardaway took advantage, blowing past
him toward the rim, forcing Trayce Jackson-Davis to rotate off P.J.
Washington. Hardaway lofted a pass to a cutting Washington, who made the
game-winning layup with 4.5 seconds remaining.

Thompson’s 3-point shot at the buzzer was not a clean look and bounced
off the rim. Game over. Streak ended.

“I liked our defensive possession,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters at
American Airlines Center. “Getting the ball out of Kyrie's hands, we had
the possession and a decent place. And Tim Hardaway made a hell of a
pass, just getting it over the outstretched hands of a couple guys.
Trayce was there first and then Draymond was right behind it. He was
probably an inch away from deflecting the pass out of bounds.”

The defense was in trouble the moment Hardaway beat Thompson. That would
not have happened five years ago, when Klay was an elite defender. But
in 2024, it happened in the final seconds of a tie game.

Rarely is a game decided by a single possession, and this one was not.
But it’s evident Golden State’s late-game rotations remain a work in
progress. Part of the challenge is related to injuries, and part of it
is finding a lineup consistently solid enough that Green won’t have to
bail it out with spectacular plays.

The Warriors were without both Jonathan Kuminga (knee) and Andrew
Wiggins (ankle), two lengthy wing defenders. At least one of them –
maybe both – would have been in the game for that final Dallas possession.

“Probably just came down to more possessions,” Payton said, summarizing
the empty evening. “We’ve got to get to some 50-50 balls. That’s
probably what it is. Came down to possessions. Just got to get stops.”

The Warriors opened the game with their 25th starting lineup of the
season, as Moses Moody joined Curry, Thompson, Green and Jackson-Davis.
They started poorly but were rescued when the second unit closed the
first quarter with a 19-2 run to make it competitive.

By the fourth quarter, Golden State appeared to be dragging. The younger
Mavericks, also playing on a back-to-back, seemed bouncier. They shot
52.6 percent in the quarter and, moreover, got the last bucket.

The Warriors need only one win to clinch a berth in the NBA play-in
tournament, which, unlike the No. 6 seed, comes without a guaranteed
playoff berth. It’s not what they want, but it’s what they’ve earned.


sport / alt.sports.basketball.nba.gs-warriors / NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors' tough loss to Mavs is reminder of challenges ahead

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