The Golden State Warriors have stepped down from recognition as serious NBA title contenders. Stephen Curry and the Warriors have recently fallen off the wagon, falling to their first four-game losing streak, creating doubt around those lofty aspirations.
Golden State sits in the Western Conference’s second overall spot, but the downward spiral is putting that status into jeopardy. With about a month left in the regular season, the eight-time All-Star issued a stern warning to his team.
Warriors bounce back into NBA title contention picture
Months before the 2021-22 season, Stephen Curry fearlessly called his shot, stating that the Warriors will be back in the championship picture.
The Warriors have followed through behind the star point guard’s strong remarks by remaining among the NBA’s top records. The team’s success goes beyond Curry, averaging 25.8 points and 6.4 assists per contest.
However, Golden State has dropped from their steaming hot start toward potentially dropping out of the Western Conference’s second overall playoff spot. After the Warriors’ disappointing loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night, Curry dished out a firm message to his teammates.
Stephen Curry delivers an urgent warning to the Warriors
The Warriors have sat comfortably near the top of the Western Conference standings throughout the entire season.
However, Golden State has hit a rough patch, dropping their last four consecutive games after falling to the Lakers on Saturday night behind LeBron James’ season-high 56 points. Following the loss, star point guard Stephen Curry ramped up the sense of urgency by underlining the importance for the team to get back on track.
“We cannot give in to this losing mentality,” Curry said via ESPN. “We’re not that team, and I’m not going to let us be that team…We cannot give in to this losing spirit of just finding different ways to lose basketball games. We have 18 games left, we have to figure out how to turn things around pretty quick.”
The two-time league MVP isn’t one to issue many strong public remarks, but he can see things beginning to slip south. The Phoenix Suns sit locked into the No. 1 seed behind an eight-game lead over the Warriors. Meanwhile, the third-seeded Memphis Grizzlies trail Golden State by only one game, and the Utah Jazz are 2.5 games out from the second spot.
The Warriors remain in the driver’s seat, but the margin for error has trimmed down significantly. They can’t afford to fall into a more extended skid than losing eight out of their previous 10 contests. Curry knows it starts with him to set the tone, but Golden State needs stronger collective play.
“It’s rough right now,” Curry said. “Keeping it plain and simple, it’s rough. We’ve got to find a way to claw our way out because obviously, you’ve seen in the last four games, it’s self-inflicted wounds.
“If the playoffs started tomorrow, we would be in some trouble.”
The Warriors have some time to figure it out, but Curry’s message is simple: Everything must shift into high gear now.
Warriors need Draymond Green back
The current situation comes as no surprise as the Warriors’ struggles coincide with Draymond Green’s absence.
The three-time All-Star hasn’t played since early January when the Golden State held a 28-6 record, vying for the Western Conference’s top playoff seed. The Warriors have played like an average team without him, holding a 15-15 mark over the last 30 games.
Their defense has noticeably slipped up, allowing north of 110 points eight times over their last 10 contests, including their last three consecutive games. Green remains one of the league’s best defenders, while he’s a prominent orchestrator of the offense. His passing and ball movement helps create consistently better looks for shot attempt for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
Green plays an invaluable role on both ends of the floor, and without him, the team isn’t performing like an NBA title contender. He’s aiming to return within the next week or so, putting him back in the mix for the final stretch run of the regular season.
The Warriors’ problems go deeper than Green’s presence, but his return will provide a much-needed boost.