Steve Kerr pinpoints ‘pattern’ plaguing Warriors during losing skid

Kerr pinpoints ‘pattern’ that has plagued Warriors during skid originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Things have been trending down for the Warriors for quite some time. Following Saturday’s deflating loss to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State now has lost eight of its last 10 and is just 16-14 since Jan. 1.

A lot of Golden State’s issues can be traced back to the absence of Draymond Green, who hasn’t played since Jan. 5 outside of seven seconds during Klay Thompson’s first game on Jan. 9. The Warriors’ defense survived the first chunk of games without Draymond, but they ranked 23rd in defensive rating in February and their offense has been disjointed without the pace-setter in Green.

But head coach Steve Kerr has seen another troubling issue, especially during the Warriors’ recent losing skid: An inability to deliver a knockout blow when they have an opponent on the ropes.

“This has kind of been a pattern during this bad spell for us,” Kerr said after the loss to the Lakers. “We are not stepping on teams when they are down. We are making mistakes and allowing teams to hang around. And when you do that in this league, you’re dead.”

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The Lakers entered Saturday’s game having lost four straight after the All-Star break and had shown little fight in losses to the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Clippers, folding relatively easily once faced with a big deficit.

The Warriors had a chance to put James and the Lakers away early Saturday night at Arena. Golden State led by 14 in the second quarter and by 12 multiple times in the third. Each time, instead of pushing the lead to 20 and breaking the Lakers’ will, they let Los Angeles chip away at the lead until the Lakers finally evened the score on a James 3-pointer with 8:39 remaining in the fourth quarter.

From that point on, the Lakers closed the game on a 27-19 run to hand the Warriors a fourth straight defeat.

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That inability to step on a team’s throat has been especially apparent on the defensive end of the floor. Without Green on the floor to direct traffic, the Warriors’ gaps have been easily exposed and that has given opponents life as Steph Curry noted following the Warriors’ loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves last Tuesday.

“It’s really just consistency and focus and IQ and understanding how certain teams are trying to execute against us and what we can do — I’m talking mostly defensively — to counter that knowing we have a lot of different rotations and lineups,” Curry said of the Warriors’ defensive breakdowns. “We have to make adjustments on the fly, but we have to be more connected, be more in sync as a five-man unit whoever is out there.

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“Realize it’s how hard it is to win in this league. Say that a lot because I feel like guys who have been around know what it takes. But nights like tonight where you just don’t play a good brand of basketball defensively to give yourself a chance to win on the road against a team you allow to have life the whole night. You’re not going to win a lot of games like that.”

Green reportedly could return to the Warriors in seven-to-10 days. That would be a welcome sight for a Warriors team that is leaking oil as the regular season concludes.

Golden State will look to snap its four-game losing streak Monday night against the Nuggets in Denver. But Golden State will be without Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Wiggins as Kerr has elected to rest his “high-minute” players ahead of Tuesday’s game vs. the Clippers at Chase Center.

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