Brad Taningco
NBA
07-01-2017
11950

Is it Time to Worry about Warriors’ Crunch Time Woes?

By January 07, 2017
The Warriors blew another big 4th quarter lead in a home loss to the Grizzlies.

Warriors Stunned by Griz Again

Normally, you’d assume a team holding a 19-point lead at home entering the fourth quarter should be relatively safe for the win. You’d assume it’d be even safer it that team were the 31-5 Golden State Warriors, who were also 16-2 at Oracle.

But alas, the Warriors somehow managed to throw such a massive lead away as they lost a stunner against the Memphis Grizzlies, 128-119, in overtime. The Dubs went an unbelievable 2-of-13 from the field in the fourth quarter and turned the ball over five times. It go so bad that they couldn’t even make their free throws. Klay Thompson went 0-for-2 in one trip, and Kevin Durant – an 88 percent free throw shooter – missed three in a row at one point. 

The Warriors lost despite a second consecutive great game by Steph Curry, who followed up his 35-point performance against the Portland Trail Blazers with 40 points.

The Grizzlies are now 2-0 against the Warriors this season. They actually handed the Warriors their biggest defeat of the season back in December. They won 110-89 in Memphis, and they did it without Mike Conley. Conley starred this time around for the Griz, though, as he had 27 points and 12 assists. Zach Randolph also had 27 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists off the bench, while Marc Gasol added 23.

What's Wrong with the Warriors? 

Warriors trolls will likely be feeling like it’s Christmas all over again, in more ways than one. The Warriors’ loss to the Grizzlies will bring back memories of their similarly disastrous fourth-quarter collapse against the Cleveland Cavaliers back on Christmas Day, when they somehow let a 14-point fourth-quarter lead with nine minutes left slip away. And of course, the 3-1 lead the Warriors famously choked away in last year’s Finals is still fresh in many people’s minds.

As silly as it sounds to worry about a team that’s still 31-6, blowing a double-digit fourth-quarter lead to a main title rival – and a 20-point lead to anyone – is rather concerning. That just isn’t supposed to happen for a team that has championship aspirations.

But there are some extenuating circumstances. There was always going to be some adjustment period for the offense following the arrival of such a game-changing piece like Durant, especially at crunch time, and those issues are beginning to show. First, there was Steph Curry’s criticism of the offense and the lack of pick-and-rolls shortly after the Christmas Day loss to the Cavs. And against the Grizzlies, Draymond Green was giving it to Durant after some miscommunication. And there was another particular play late in the 4th wherein Curry didn’t look too thrilled to be passing the ball off to KD.

These are somewhat normal growing pains that come with superstar-laden teams, though. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade had to work through them when they teamed up in Miami. Durant and Russell Westbrook constantly wrestled with it in Oklahoma City. But sooner or later – often through trial and error – those problems eventually iron themselves out.

The good news for Golden State is that it’s still January, when those sorts of collapses don’t matter quite as much in the grand scheme of things. They actually need this type of adversity to learn from their mistakes and help the team get better. They still have time to sort out whatever issues they may have, so there’s no need to panic about the Warriors’ 4th quarter problems – yet.

Is there reason to panic in Golden State? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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