Why Steph, Warriors didn’t hit the panic button after the loss to Bucks originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
MILWAUKEE – There comes a point in almost every NBA season when a team, no matter how talented, hits a wall.
The Warriors hit the nail on the head as their season hit halfway on Thursday in Milwaukee. Golden State’s 41st game was the worst performance of the season. Defending champion Bucks dominated the Warriors from the first kickoff at the Fiserv Forum, leading by 39 at halftime en route to a 118-99 victory that sent Golden State to its fourth loss in five games.
After a blazing start to the season that saw many players prepare the Warriors for a return to the NBA Finals, Golden State has cooled off considerably. The offense has been rambling for most of two weeks, Steph Curry mired in a shooting crisis, and the NBA’s best defense hasn’t been the stabilizing force it was at the start of the season.
So are the Warriors starting to feel the heat after what some might call a reality show in Milwaukee? Not at all.
“It’s a situation where you compare yourself to yourself,” Curry said Thursday of the Warriors’ recent struggles. “There’s never a moral win situation, we don’t talk about it. It’s about maintaining the confidence in who you are, what you’ve established yourself to be. We have beaten some really good teams in this league, we’ve lost to very good teams, we’ve blown ourselves up a few times. That’s the life of an 82-game schedule. But where it gets difficult is that there are things consistent that appear night after night, and obviously we need to fix that as soon as possible.
“We want to be able to right the ship as quickly as possible. But there is no panic.”
How do the Warriors go about turning things around for a team that is 30-11 years old and has the second best NBA record?
They are not about to reinvent the wheel. They don’t have to. They just have to go back to the formula that made the best team in the NBA during the first two months. Play smothering defense, execute on offense, and perhaps more importantly, get the shots open to start falling again.
The Warriors’ defense Thursday night in Milwaukee was flabby and disconnected. The Bucks took him down with ease as Giannis Antentokounmpo stepped into the paint, forced the Warriors to collapse on him, and sent him back to a group of deadly shooters probing the Milwaukee perimeter. The Bucks shot 62% in the first half, and when you take the ball out of the net after almost every possession, it’s tough to get into an attacking rhythm.
Nothing went well Thursday for the Warriors, with the Bucks opening the game 16-4 and leading by 16 after one. That lead increased to 30 in the second quarter, and that’s all she wrote.
Make no mistake, the Warriors face real adversity. They have multiple issues to tackle, from defensive failures to the change in spin brought about by Klay Thomspon’s return, Golden State needs to look in the mirror and find out who he really is.
“We’ve tried to prepare for it, but it’s an adjustment,” Curry said of the new rotation. “As far as where we’re at in the season, there’s no panic because we have time to figure that out to make the guys feel comfortable. We knew Klay was coming back – a new starting lineup, Draymond being absent required some adjustments.
“We’re still talking about breaking this down into three seasons. Getting off on the right foot while we wait for Klay to return, [James Wiseman], that time that we’re in right now where we have to make those adjustments and keep improving, staying patient and getting everyone comfortable with our new chemistry, and then a playoff push that through a vibe of post-All-Star type break where you need to be really connected and understand who you are.
“We have shown that we can do it. We just have to stick to it. “
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There will be no respite for a weary Warriors squad in search of answers.
After being beaten from top to bottom by the defending champions, the Warriors travel to Chicago on Friday to face the top team in the East on the second night of a brutal back-to-back.
If the Warriors bring the same game they showed up with on Thursday at the United Center on Friday, the Bulls could do a quick job on them. Blowout losses can often be just what a team needs to get out of the rut.
Thursday wasn’t fun for the Warriors, but it could be helpful in showing Kerr what his team is made of and how far they really need to go to be the team they hope to be.
“It’s part of being a competitor, it’s every once in a while you get your ass kicked, and it’s humiliating and it’s not fun, and it all depends on how you react.” ? Kerr said Thursday.
“We’re going to find him. Right now we’re a little bit in a bad mood. We just have to weather the storm.”