Warriors’ self-sabotage results in well-deserved loss to Wolves originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Warriors, for the umpteenth time this season, have nobody to blame but themselves.
Up 96-82 with 11:12 remaining in the fourth quarter, Golden State’s late collapse in regulation was the appetizer to what ended up being a mistake-riddled feast for Minnesota.
If the Warriors’ frustrating collapse already wasn’t an ominous sign that trouble persists, coach Steve Kerr was the only one to speak after the game. It remains to be seen why players were unavailable to the media, but speculation will lead you to believe that a possible team meeting might have been called.
Although Kerr was the lone speaker, his comments carried the weight of the entire team.
“I thought we had control of the game and then I thought we just kind of gift-wrapped it,” Kerr told reporters postgame. “And not to take anything away from Minnesota, I thought they were great. They took advantage of our mistakes and lack of execution. [D’Angelo Russell] got hot and guys made big shots, but we missed box-outs, we threw the ball away, we took really difficult shots.
“So everything we had done to that point to have control of the game, we stopped doing. We got what we deserved.”
Of the Warriors’ 25 losses this season, eight have been decided by five points or fewer. In overtime, Golden State is 1-3 and would be winless if not for a razor-thin 143-141 double-overtime win over the Atlanta Hawks on Jan. 2.
For a team that has blown countless fourth-quarter leads this season, Wednesday night was an all too familiar feeling for the Warriors. Kerr’s reasoning as to why this keeps happening is simple.
“Execution. I know it’s just a catchphrase, whatever you want to call it, but it’s the truth, you have to execute,” Kerr explained. “These are the best players in the world, even with their guys out. If you want to hand a team a few possessions, then they’ve got guys who are going to take advantage. D-Lo hits like three 3s after we throw the ball away a few times and the whole game changes.
“If you want to win, especially on the road, you have to execute and we’ve lost probably five, six games like this on the road this year because of the lack of execution. We’re not good enough to win without executing, we might have been a few years ago. We’re not good enough now to win without executing in the fourth quarter on the road. We’re trying to correct that, we’re trying to work on that and we gotta do better.”
The Warriors got sloppy toward the end of the fourth quarter and throughout overtime. In the final five minutes of regulation plus the five-minute overtime period, the Warriors committed seven costly turnovers. Sloppy play oftentimes is a symptom of a larger in-game issue, but Wednesday night, the Warriors couldn’t blame their collapse on fatigue.
“The game went overtime. Steph and Klay got to 42 and 40 minutes, so you take the overtime away and they’re right in their normal range,” Kerr said. “We had yesterday off, so I didn’t think fatigue was a factor. Just mentally we were not sharp. We gave a bunch of possessions away.”
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After rattling off three straight wins, the Warriors appeared to be turning a corner and began their sprint toward one of the Western Conference’s top seeds.
Unfortunately for Golden State, right around that corner was a brick wall.