Any time the Warriors are 9-39 (23.1%) from behind the arc, it's going to be a long night for them. But shooting poorly isn't what lost them the game against the Hornets last night - at least if you ask Steve Kerr, Draymond Green, and Steph Curry. They all focused on often overlooked defense as their core identity and talked about what it takes to win on the road.
After their fantastic start to the season, everyone pointed out the Bulls had a pretty soft schedule and that the past week would show their true colors. By the way, Chicago kept winning and added another W last night against the Clippers. But the schedule thing was even more true for the Warriors. Nine out of their thirteen games have been at home, and the game against the Hornets marks the start of their first real road trip.
When asked what the main reason for the loss was, Steve Kerr said the team "never got traction, never made a stand defensively, and never got any rythm offensively." It's a cascading effect that leads to only 14 points in the fourth quarter. Despite the fact they started the fourth quarter with a one-point lead, the Warriors never really seemed fully into the game. That leads to "poor shot selection" and forcing the issue.
Some of the shots I took...obviously I think I can make them all, but you gotta understand the flow of the game a little bit. ... We just didn't have that umpf to come out of the gate, and it obviously showed. ... I wanted it so bad, you start to rush a little bit.
Steph Curry, postgame
Steph blamed himself for a lot of the bad shots. Playing in front of the home crowd in Charlotte, Curry admitted he got "roped into it a little bit, trying to go for those daggers a couple of time." But Kerr, Curry, and Green all talked about coming out of the gate slow and not having the right energy, particularly on defense, as the biggest problem. Draymond gave an excellent explanation of why that is crucial, mainly when playing on the road.
Winning games on the road requires a different level of intensity, a different level of focus. You get off to some slow starts at home, you can bounce back, you got the crowd on your side. We didn't necessarily got to a slow start, but we never put our imprint on the game. When you don't, the game can go either way, as tonight did. We need to understand that on the road, we need to come out and make a statement right away.
Draymond Green, postgame
What's next for the Warriors?
The Warriors have the Nets, Cavs, and Pistons left on this East road trip. Before the season, we'd say those are two easy wins, but with the Cavaliers playing the way they do, it will be a test for the Warriors. This loss is no cause for concern. The silver lining is they were in it until the end with Steph shooting 3-13 from behind the arc - there won't be many games like that in the season.
The game against the Nets will be the first time the Warriors will play against KD in a usual NBA setting. Harden started to play better, and Durant has been in the running with Steph for MVP. Prepare the popcorn and turn off your phone. You don't want to miss this one.