The Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings played a feisty game last night that saw a huge collapse down the stretch where Golden State failed to crack double digits in the fourth quarter. With the regular season less than a week away, some feel their crumble in the final period is a portentous harbinger for the regular season. Are they right?
We’ve been added the much-needed caveat, it’s preseason, to the excitement that bubbles to the surface any time we witness something remarkable in a preseason game. These games don’t count, so it’s hard to derive a lot from a smattering of bizarre lineups as some guys sit and others play while coaches fiddle with their rotation. Why then are a couple west coast writers so apocalyptic when describing Golden State’s loss last night?
Marcus Thompson in the Oakland Tribune relayed a couple illuminating quotes from coach Mark Jackson and center Andrew Bogut:
BOGUT: “A hard lesson learned. We’re the top dog now. Teams are going to come after us … especially teams that aren’t supposed to beat us us on paper, they’re going to give us their best shot. If we don’t come to play — especially against a free-flowing team like Sacramento who gets up and down, shoots a lot of threes — it’s going to be a tough game.”
JACKSON: “We’re a different basketball team than in the past but the disappointing part is when you need a rebound or you need a stop we didn’t come up with it. The good teams, the great teams, the teams that are playing in June you got to come up with that play. The Spurs lost a championship because of their inability to get a rebound when it mattered.”
Thompson sums it when he writes, “It seemed the Warriors weren’t seem [sic] quite ready for the challenge after all.”
Adam Lauridsen of the San Jose Mercury blog was pretty negative about their fourth quarter collapse, too, in his game recap:
The national media may be ready to hail the Warriors as potential contenders, but on Wednesday night the Warriors had their sights on a much more modest goal — holding onto a fourth quarter lead against the rebuilding Kings. Mark Jackson let his starting 5 play the final 6:16. They saw a 4-point lead turn into a 1-point deficit, and squandered countless opportunities at both ends to put the game away. You can chase your tail in the endless debate over whether preseason results really matter, but two facts are inescapable: the Warriors closed the game with their best players on the court, and those players weren’t able to save the win.
After scoring 81 points in the first three quarters, the Dubs were only able to manage 9 in the final period. Sacramento rallied behind Isaiah Thomas play throughout and John Salmons‘ (!) big fourth quarter to get the one-point victory.
The Dubs play one more preseason game when the Trail Blazers travel south to Oracle Arena tonight, and it’ll be interesting to see how their starters handle the pressure of being one of the contenders in the West. A lot of teams have struggled after, as Bogut says, “We’re the top dog now.”
Something to keep in mind, though: Harrison Barnes is still out with an inflamed foot issue, and he provides a much-needed valve for a bench that could have used a bit more punch last night. But it was the Warriors’ starters (Barnes might be one of them depending on Jackson’s small ball courage) who lost this game last night, so keep an eye on them once the regular season starts.
Expectations can bring adversity, and if the Dubs struggle to open the season, look for panic to set in as fans take the negative Nancy approach. If you’re at all familiar with Golden State’s history before last season, you can’t really blame them.
What do you think?
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