When the Warriors went to Phoenix in late December and walked away with a 116-107 win, they had pushed their record to 27-6 and had retaken their spot at top of the standings.
It’s been a rough time since then, and they’ve gone 6-6 since then. The fact that Draymond Green has been unable to suit up due to a calf injury has muted the excitement of Klay Thompson’s return, as Green’s importance to their success cannot be overstated. Even with Andrew Wiggins making a case as a potential All-Star this year, things have not gone the Warriors’ way.
Their latest loss at home against the Indiana Pacers again exemplified the inconsistency that has plagued the Warriors since their win in Phoenix. Here are the losses that they’ve suffered in that period:
- 121-117 vs. Pacers
- 119-99 vs. Timberwolves
- 118-99 vs. Bucks
- 116-108 vs. Grizzlies
- 101-96 vs. Pelicans
- 99-82 vs. Mavericks
The Warriors were massive favorites against the Pacers, who had a +14.5 spread heading into the game. Indiana were missing key players in Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. What should have been an easy victory ended up being an overtime defeat, one that saw Steph Curry have to play 44 minutes to try and save the Warriors with 39 points, five rebounds and eight assists. No one else broke the 20-point mark in that game as they shot a collective 9 of 42 from beyond the arc.
Some of the defeats you could potentially turn a blind eye on, like the Wolves and Pelicans games, because Curry was unavailable.
However, their losses against the Bucks, Grizzlies and Mavericks stand out. The Warriors are aiming to challenge for an NBA title this year, and all three of those teams are potential playoffs or NBA Finals matchups, and they were beaten pretty soundly.
The Bucks had already won the game by halftime after taking a 77-38 lead after two quarters. The Grizzlies, who have become a thorn on the Warriors’ side since knocking them out of the play-ins last season, outlasted the Warriors after blowing a huge lead in the third quarter. The Mavericks, who were without Kristaps Porzingis, also managed to come away with a blowout victory.
I’m not saying that the Warriors have suddenly become a bad team, by any means. However, an offense that’s still a little too reliant on Curry to bail them out of tight games could become a problem down the road as they jockey for position. The Dubs still have the second-best record in the league, but their rivals the Grizzlies are starting to make up ground.
With Green still out for a while as he recovers from a calf injury, the Warriors have to find a way to spread their offense out better. Klay Thompson has shown some flashes of his old self, but his long break from NBA action means he really still needs time to warm up. They have talented guys like Jordan Poole and Wiggins to help shoulder the load on offense, but they really need to get them better involved.
It will be hard to judge the Warriors until they have Green back to full strength, but they’re going to have to figure out how to string together more than one or two wins at a time.