The Golden State Warriors (26-17) have hit a recent rough patch as of late, losing four out of their last six games, surrendering more than 100 points in each of the four losses.. In two of those losses they have also struggled to beat the best teams the NBA has to offer (OKC Thunder and Indiana Pacers).
Last Friday, the Warriors traveled to Oklahoma City to face the Kevin Durant-led Thunder (33-10). While there was no defense whatsoever for most of the game, there was high flying/entertaining offense from both squads. While Steph Curry (37 points, 11 assists) and Klay Thompson (26 points) each hit 6 three pointers, they were overshadowed by the ridiculous show put on by Kevin Durant (who has been absolutely insane during the month of January). Durant tallied 54 points on 19-28 shooting (68%) from the field, going 5-9 from deep and 11-13 from the free-throw line. Durant had a stretch were he scored 11 straight points in 2 minutes in the 4th quarter; at that point I didn’t even think the Seattle Seahawks defense could stop Kevin Durant.
“We battled him for the most part, and he got hot in the fourth and knocked down some big shots for them,” Warriors center Andrew Bogut said after the 127-121 loss “There’s a reason why he’s a perennial All-Star and future Hall of Famer and possibly MVP this year”
After a 97-87 victory this past Sunday vs the New Orleans Pelicans, the Warriors would get another shot at beating prime-time NBA contender hosting the Indiana Pacers (33-8) at Oracle Arena on Martin Luther King day.
Again the Warriors struggled defensively allowing 35 points in the first quarter and letting Pacers star Paul George get off to a hot start. The Warriors were down by as much as 20 points in that game before making an inevitable run in the 4th quarter, cutting the Pacers lead down to 4. The Warriors ultimately lost 102-94, and to make matters worse Andrew Bogut strained his knee in that game but continued to play.
Bogut is one of the best rim protectors in the NBA and is a key part (along with Andre Iguodala) of the Warriors’ improved overall defense this year, the knee injury doesn’t seem to be serious but the Warriors should take caution with his injury because if Iguodala or Bogut are absent from the starting lineup the Warriors’ defense will suffer tremendously.
The Warriors, who have played an NBA-high 25 road games this season, will finally have a big stretch of home games coming up, playing the next 10 out of 13 games at Oracle Arena. With the fact that the Warriors are a good home team, the Warriors should be primed for another hot streak like the one that ended a couple of weeks ago. However, they need to get back to their defensive mentality and get that elusive NBA consistency back.
“We’re right there as a team that has the potential to do some great things this year if we can figure that last,little bit of consistency out,” Stephen Curry said. “We’ve shown in spots we have the talent to do it, we just have to find that last little piece of assertiveness against the best teams in the league.”
The Warriors have not played since Monday’s loss vs the Pacers, and will play the Minnesota Timberwolves (20-21) at Oracle on Friday, a team that is struggling but still has plenty of offensive weapons that will test the Warriors defense again.