For the second time this week, the Golden State Warriors went cold in the fourth quarter. Only twice this week have the Warriors lost by more than 20 points. Against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, they played so frantically trying to build a +13-point lead in a win that would allow them to advance in the playoff tournament, that they forgot to actually secure a win. It was a rare double loss.
After their collapse against Sacramento, they rebounded with a win over the Los Angeles Clippers at home. On Saturday, they outscored the Clippers early in the second half. However, by the end of the third frame, their 19-point halftime lead had dwindled to seven points.
With 1:02 left in regulation, Golden State still led by five. James Harden’s drive and takedown cut it to three. After Moses Moody went 1-for-2 at the charity stripe, Tyronn Lue made a lateral call that led to Paul George in the lane making a shovel pass to Kawhi Leonard to cut off the baseline and make it a two-point game. On the Warriors’ ensuing possession, Steph Curry nailed the game-clinching pull-up jumper. After crashing the boards, Russell Westbrook took off in transition and fed the rock to Paul George. The smell of blood, George dripped between his legs, retreated and A game-winning 26-foot triple hole On Klay Thompson.
Curry drove the route and drove into a wide-open Draymond Green from the corner as time expired, but that shot predictably bounced off the rim. Now, instead of being an 11-9 team, the Warriors are 9-11. This is a fitting record because it’s starting to sound like an emergency for the Big Three era. Golden State’s dwindling control over the league is nothing new. Concerns surrounding Thompson Low performance Early in the season it was Annual discussion, but the matter has been exacerbated this season by his impending free agency. The demise of their dominance in the third quarter is another sign that they cannot be considered a contender in 2024.
At their peak, they were the best third-quarter scoring team in the NBA in the league. The Steph-Klay-Draymond Warriors won’t overwhelm you from the get-go, but after halftime, they could have come out of the gates in the second half stronger than Usain Bolt at the turn. During their last run in the tournament, they finally finished second behind another team on goal difference in the third quarter. But they were also the team second in the league in fourth-quarter goal difference.
If you go back further, they were more stifling in the third quarter. The 2019 Finals team’s scoring differential in the third frame was 70 points higher than any other team. The Warriors topped the league in the 2017-18 season Net rating for the third quarter increased by 10 points On the second best team, despite getting Negative points difference in the fourth. This season, their third-quarter net rating ranks 12th, which is quite average. Golden State has lost much of what made it extraordinary. This strength has now become a weakness.
Without those runs in the third quarter, their ability to demoralize opponents has dissipated. Golden State could look around at the league it once hovered over and not notice that everyone had grown or shrunk. They’ve always been a slightly above average team in the fourth quarter, but this season they’re in the top four of teams Scoring margin.
We’ve seen this tendency to collapse happen routinely during the 2022 season, but that was two seasons ago. Wisdom is never applied. They’re still playing YOLO basketball like they were in 2015, but without the same stylistic edge and talent on the court. Their ups and downs have already become a story during the final stretch before the postseason. We used to excuse their lack of focus on boredom. This team was built to win the title game. They can afford to mess around on a random night in January. Watching these warriors is like seeing a couple of street racers playing chicken with a ramp. It’s exhilarating, but also unsettling.
They probably feel their age more in the fourth quarter, but that wouldn’t explain what happened against the equally old Clippers. In the fourth quarter, they lacked energy and their execution was lazy. This team needs a boost of youth because this feels like a slow death for the Warriors is happening.
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