On some nights, the Warriors can dazzle you with energetic team defense, behind the back passes, and an endless barrage of three’s. Tuesday was not one of those nights, as Golden State fell to Charlotte 91-75.
It wasn’t so much that the Bobcats (22-28) were the better team in this game, it was that the Warriors (29-20) had arguably their worst offensive outing of the season, shooting just 31% and scoring less than 20 points in both the first and fourth quarters.
The Warriors just didn’t miss shots in this one, it was the way they missed the shots. Wide open three’s and layups seemed to rim out at every available opportunity that would have put the Warriors in position to make a run, something that surely left Coach Mark Jackson scratching his head in puzzlement.
The Warriors fell behind by 13 after the first quarter and were never able to produce a good stretch of solid play to get back into the game. Curry and Lee, Golden State’s two leading scorers at 24.5 and 19.1 points per game this season, were only able to muster 25 combined Tuesday. Lee, who may have been hampered by a lingering shoulder injury, looked particularly rusty after sitting out the Utah game, coming up short on 3-13 shooting in only 23 minutes of play.
Slow play at the beginning of games has plagued the Warriors this season, something Warrior’s co-owner Joe Lacob lamented as he sat in momentarily on the broadcast. Mark Jackson echoed that sentiment after the game.
“We got to find a way to get out of this. We’re taking the life out of the building,” said Jackson. “We’re thinking a little too much, we’re a young basketball team, and missed shots affect everything else.”
One of the silver linings of the night was the return of Jermaine O’Neal, bringing much needed energy and length off of the bench. O’Neal looked a little rusty on offense after sitting out 26 games due to having wrist surgery, but was able to shore up some of the defensive holes Golden State typically has when starting center Andrew Bogut sits down, changing shots and pulling down rebounds that would usually go against the Warriors.
Golden State has now lost five of their last seven at home, and look to be in serious trouble in the competitive Western Conference considering their recent play. With their next game Thursday night against a feisty Chicago Bulls team, the Warriors will have their hands full as they try to keep from slipping out of the playoff picture.