Where have the warriors gone? Collapse to Celtics could lead to changes by Steve Kerr

BOSTON – During the first three quarters of the Golden State Warriors game against the Boston Celtics on Thursday, Stephen Curry and company looked like themselves. Coach Steve Kerr even went so far as to say they looked like a championship team.

But then, in the fourth quarter and through overtime, everything they had put together unraveled…again.

And now, after a 121-118 loss to the Celtics, the Warriors sit at 22-23 at mid-season and only 5-18 on the road.

“We’re capable, but it’s a matter of execution and persistence,” said Curry. “There’s another level we haven’t reached yet [to] in terms of putting together a full 48 minutes.”

The Warriors are in full search mode. They’ve been all season. And so far they have found almost nothing.

They don’t panic or show much concern, at least not in public. Klay Thompson rests their long-adopted mentality of: If we make it to the play-offs healthy, we can beat anyone.

To some extent, they still believe this to be true. But there is also an understanding that this season is not like any other.

“Last year [we] started 18-2, we had some rough moments, but at least you had a part of the season where you could say we got it,” Curry said after Golden State lost to the Chicago Bulls on January 15. a game or two, but we haven’t had time where we can consistently say we’ve figured it out. You will lose games from time to time… But a lot of that is our own doing or our failure to prove that we have the identity we need.”

Golden State can file its game against the Celtics under the umbrella Curry was talking about.

Throughout most of their dynastic run over the past 10 years, the Warriors became known for their great third quarters. They formed several versions of closing small-ball lineups that they called “death lineups.” The slogan “Strength In Numbers” was well deserved.

But this season it all seems wrong.

Thursday’s game in Boston saw one of their better third quarters in a while, but they were unable to slam the door. Their bench has not been nearly as productive as last season.

“There has to be a sense of urgency, but I don’t think that’s how we play… If you don’t have a consistent level of urgency, you’re going to lose,” Draymond Green said after their loss in Chicago.

He continued: “I think the point [where we’ll turn a corner] will come, but you must build towards it. You cannot take two steps forward or three steps back. It has to be a constant build… that constant build hasn’t started yet.”

Golden State is far from the first team with title aspirations to tread water midway through the season. Just one year ago, the Celtics found themselves with a 25-25 record in 50 games.

After a loss to the Atlanta Hawks on January 28, the Celtics went on a nine-game winning streak. They lost just six games in the remainder of the regular season en route to the NBA Finals.

The Warriors will now try to follow a similar script, and one they know themselves.

Two seasons ago without Thompson, Golden State hovered around .500 before winning 15 of their last 20 games and ultimately losing in the play-in tournament.

The Warriors have not expressed exactly what is holding them back. They’ve said they don’t know why they can’t string together good games – or even a series of good decisions, in some cases.

Kerr took the first step in trying to find a spark for his team by switching his starting lineup against the Celtics, something he said he will stick with for now. Jordan Poole started in place of Kevon Looney and joined Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Curry and Green.

“We’re halfway there and we’re .500. Let’s try something else,” Kerr said.

There is still time for the Warriors to find themselves. And while Curry says they can’t rest on their laurels and expect everything to suddenly click, there’s a certain amount of comfort given their experience.

And that’s what keeps them from worrying.

“We have a core group that has won titles,” said Kerr. “I have a lot of faith in all those guys. They’ve been through everything together and they’ve had a lot of success. It’s a long road to get through the NBA season… it’s not easy. But I have no doubt about it “We’ve got enough. And those guys know how to get it done.”

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