The 2021-22 Warriors were reminiscent of their championship-winning predecessors, winning 18 of their first 20 games. Following a season-long nine-game winning streak, Golden State sat at an impressive 41-13 and looked like a viable number one seed in the Western Conference.
However, the good times have since disappeared. Their most recent loss — a 94-90 L against the 20-53 Orlando Magic — was rock bottom. Not just because of the score itself, but because of Green’s scathing remarks after the game that reveal significant problems within the team.
Draymond Green blasted the Warriors and disrespected the Magic
Golden State looked like it was getting its footing back a couple of weeks after the All-Star break, pulling off four straight victories. However, it dropped two in a row before falling to Orlando on the road Tuesday night.
The Warriors, who are playing without star Stephen Curry for what could be the remainder of the regular season, were down eight points after the first quarter. Following an even second, Golden State managed to take control in the third, out-scoring Orlando 36-19. However, the Dubs were out-scored 29-16 in the fourth, losing by four points to the third-worst team in the NBA.
Green, who finished with only two points but seven assists, unleashed on his team’s performance after the game (h/t: ESPN).
“We’re playing soft. We’re playing stupid. We’re just not playing good basketball and we’re getting punked. It’s hard to win a game getting punked, and that’s where we’re at right now.”Draymond Green
The four-time All-Star, who also finished at a team-worst -8, was especially upset with who Golden State fell to.
“No disrespect to the Orlando Magic, but that’s one of the worst teams in the league,” Green continued. “So if we can’t match up with them, we’re definitely not going to do it against a great team.”
Green’s remarks prove the Warriors are coming undone
A few months ago, the Warriors were in the driver’s seat for the West’s top seed. But going 6-12 can change that in a hurry, as now the Dubs look more and more like a three-seed at best.
Since Feb. 8, only four teams have had a lower winning percentage than Golden State’s .333. During that time, the team’s offensive and defensive ratings have ranked 18th and 16th respectively, meaning they’ve been an average to slightly below-average team for approximately six weeks.
The Warriors can at least place some of the onus on Curry’s sprained foot, which the two-time MVP suffered last Wednesday in a loss against the Boston Celtics. But Golden State still struggled while Curry was healthy and succeeded in long stretches when Klay Thompson and Green were out.
Simply put, the Warriors are starting to show cracks at the worst possible time. Even with Jordan Poole’s 20-point streak now at 10 games, they’re routinely playing down to opponents and not showcasing the best of their abilities. Now, Golden State is two games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the two-seed and just two up on the Utah Jazz for the four-seed.
Golden State’s season-ending schedule won’t be easy
If the season were to end today, the Warriors would face Nikola Jokic — arguably this season’s MVP — and the Denver Nuggets. If they were the two-seed, they’d likely face the inexperienced Minnesota Timberwolves or an LA Clippers team sans Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Golden State would obviously prefer the latter. But its upcoming schedule won’t make it easy to gain ground on the Grizzlies.
Tuesday’s loss to Orlando was only the first of five straight road games. Wednesday, Golden State has to travel south to face the East-leading Miami Heat. Its road trip then wraps up with a potentially-massive game against the Grizzlies in Memphis.
The Warriors will then head back home and immediately face the Phoenix Suns and Jazz. That’s all three of their top West competitors in the span of six days. Finally, their season wraps up with three of their four final games on the road.
Barring a horrible losing streak, the Warriors should expect to have home-court advantage in round one. But even if Curry manages to return for the postseason, the chances of Golden State going on a Finals run seem far less likely than they did a couple of months ago.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.