NBA: Slumping Warriors missing Draymond Green’s spark
LOS ANGELES – Stephen Curry’s failure to get a shot off in the fourth quarter of Golden State’s 122-113 loss to Dallas was a career first, but the Warriors star said it’s defense, not shooting, that will be key to improving the team’s suddenly sagging fortunes.
“We’ve got to get more aligned on what we’re trying to do defensively,” Curry said after the Warriors dropped a third straight game for the first time this season.
“They were trying to hunt isolations, and it seemed like they had the whole court to work with. Maybe (we should) take a page out of the way they defended us, especially if we’re going small with no rim protection.”
The Warriors, who won 18 of their first 20 games in a red-hot start to the season, have now lost seven of their last nine. They are 7 1/2 games behind Western Conference leaders Phoenix, and clinging to a half-game lead over third-placed Memphis.
“It’s weird, we’re losing in a lot of different ways,” Curry said, noting that the first half against Dallas on Thursday — in which the Mavs scored 68 points — was “pretty ugly.”
“And then you try to climb back into it on the road and it’s really hard to get over that hump when the team is rolling like that,” he said. “The fact we were in it was a good sign, but no moral victories.”
With 19 games left in the regular season, one obvious antidote to the Warriors’ defensive woes would be the return of Draymond Green, who has been sidelined since January 9 with back trouble.
Green said Thursday he hopes to be back on court “in a couple of weeks,” and coach Steve Kerr doesn’t try to disguise how much the Warriors need him.
“We desperately need Draymond, you guys know that,” Kerr said.
Green was on the bench during Thursday’s defeat, talking to teammates and barking at referees.
Even that contribution makes a difference, Kerr said.
“He’s inspiring,” Kerr said. “The locker room feels lighter, looser, more fun. He’s constantly giving guys suggestions and thoughts during the game.”
Where they really need him, however, is on the court, where Green is a strong defensive presence and a facilitator for Curry and Klay Thompson, who returned in January after an injury absence of more than two years.
“Having a guy like him who is very vocal, high IQ, has a certain approach of leadership, all that stuff, it matters,” Curry said. “So that’s why (we’re) just trying to stay patient in terms of where we are in the season and where we want to be in a month and a half.”
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