Has Stephen Curry Really Been ‘Bailing Out’ The Warriors Lately?

03.08.16 3 years ago 2 Comments
steve kerr, stephen curry

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After a stunning and inexplicable loss to the Lakers on Sunday, followed by a close call against the Orlando Magic on Monday, it was inevitable that the basketball world would start sounding the alarms for the Warriors. It’s all a bit of an overreaction, given the level at which Golden State has been playing all season. It really shouldn’t come as that big of a shock that they would let their guard down a little toward the end of a grueling 82-game slog in which they continue to get every opponent’s best effort, while trying to maintain some energy reserves for an equally-exhausting postseason run.

Nonetheless, head coach Steve Kerr isn’t happy with his team’s recent play, in particular what he sees as a growing dependence on Steph Curry‘s heroics to seal victories in crunch time.

What he’s really talking about is just a couple of recent games rather than an alarming trend. True, the Warriors needed several key plays from Curry late in the fourth quarter Monday night to keep the game out of reach for Orlando. There’s no disputing that.

It was also Curry’s miraculous buzzer-beater that sunk the Thunder in a brutal overtime win on February 28. They needed every single one of his record-tying 12 three-pointers, especially that last one. But what’s happened between now and then can hardly be boiled down to “Curry to the rescue.”

Golden State was without Curry in the lineup for a gritty overtime win against a scrappy Hawks team the following game. Then, in their rematch against OKC, it was the Warriors’ supporting cast that came up huge in the fourth quarter to put the Thunder away.

The more alarming trend here is that the Warriors have been careless with the ball. After coughing it up for 20 turnovers against the Lakers, they were even worse against Orlando in that area, logging 24 total turnovers, including several in crunch time.

It might also be past time to take a closer look at Draymond Green’s sharp decline since the All-Star break. Before the break, he was averaging 14.2 points per game on better than 48 percent from the floor and 42 percent from downtown. While his rebound and assists numbers have held steady (they’re actually both up a percentage point), his efficiency has plummeted. Since the break, he’s scoring just over 10 points per game, and shooting 42 percent from the field and just 23.1 percent from behind-the-arc. He’s also nearly doubled his turnovers per game.

It’s fine for Kerr to lament the Warriors’ recent over-reliance on Curry, but finding a way to get Green back on track is a much more pressing (and potentially problematic) riddle to solve.

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