“Golden State…best rim protection team in the league” — ? 👀 🤔 ✅
[+notes/quotes/video from Warriors/OKC, league news affecting GSW]
If in written form, I personally think this season can only be described with a Ph. D. dissertation. On nearly every livestream, I’ve tried to explain all the dominoes, starting with “championship hangover” lingering since the (very epic) parade in downtown San Francisco, to the Japan trip, to the Draymond punch, to Ring Night, to playing the discombobulated LA Lakers that night instead of getting handed a humble-pie loss as is usually the case with Ring Nights, to the dual extension signings of Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins, to that fateful first road trip and playing down to the competition — that’s only through the end of October; the list goes on and on and on!
More recently, fans have been howling to sign a big man to that 15th spot, currently occupied by a 10-day for Lester Quinones and, after that expires, very likely to be a two-way conversion for Anthony Lamb, as Steve Kerr recently hinted (see below, somewhere). They keep howling, even after the Oklahoma City Thunder demonstrated deployment of zero big men in their win.
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We all know the issues with the Golden State Warriors’ point-of-attack defense, that was also heavily chronicled the other night after it reared its ugly head in the loss at OKC, but the whole “need a big man” gripe was actually touched upon (indirectly) by none other than opposing head coach Mark Daigneault in the postgame presser.
“This is a team, Golden State,” said Daigneault, “that is the best rim protection team in the league. They give up the fewest shots at the rim, if I’m not mistaken. So they sell out at the rim and in the paint.” He was answering a question about what his team did to get the win, saying they had to be able to actively space on the perimeter and shoot confidently. The Thunder ended up nearly posting a 50-40-90 as a team. The Dubs yielded 137 points in the process.
Side note: Daigneault might actually be mistaken, indeed. I had my livechat co-host Dean “of Positivity” Chambers look up field goal percentage at the rim. All he could find were stats from the NBA website of within six feet: https://www.nba.com/stats/teams/defense-dash-lt6?dir=A&sort=FGM_LT_06
As of that night Daigneault spoke, the Warriors were 9th-best in the league in defensive field goals made within six feet. However, they were also third in the Western Conference. I also asked some team insiders for any insights into that, but didn’t hear back.
If you filter the above NBA stat page on date since the All-Star Break, the Warriors are fourth in the entire league in defensive field goal percentage behind the Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies.
Maybe Daigneault was looking at some rim protection stat the public is not privy to, but whatever the case, the Warriors are still startlingly high amongst their peers at rim protection, there is no doubt. Fourth out of thirty in anything is still pretty remarkable. Of course, Draymond Green is the driving force behind that rim protection.
Let’s not forget the absences of Andrew Wiggins and Gary Payton II during this time. It’s ironic to me that Kerr has built a program at Chase Center that gets the average fan to constantly forget about that, that the bar of expectation by anyone donning a Warriors jersey, even role players, has been set so high — and yet he is the first to be blamed for any little thing that goes wrong.
Will knowledge of this team stat ranking alter the trajectory of the “need a big man” brigade? I doubt it. Twitter is addicted to the plug-and-play nature of NBA2K. It does not consider IRL (“in real life”) issues such as integrating with a team, game plan execution IQ, locker room chemistry, or fundamentals such as setting a pick the right way, the Kevon Looney way, even if he ends up being called for bad ones by a Josh Tiven-led crew who gave out a technical to Poole for a bounce pass in frustration. Do we really expect Nerlens Noel to set non-whistled picks for the greatest backcourt shooting duo of all-time? It’s taken months for two-time NCAA champion Donte DiVincenzo to master the swing-swing-swing with the SplashBrothers. You expect Nerlens Noel to know exactly where to be at exactly the right time? (Btw he just signed a 10-day with the Brooklyn Nets.)
Everything online points to the 2K way: height, wingspan, stats, athleticism, physical appearance. There is no peeling of the onion. As I’ve alluded to many times, there is no mind frame of learning, only negativity and the need to yell something from a mountain top, as if that was the remedy for the stress level the average Twitter user is suffering through IRL. When you’re stressed out IRL, are you in a state of learning? But again, I’m not here to write a Ph. D. dissertation or defend my honor by thumb-typing into a mobile app. Come meet me on the livestreams. IRL.
But the things opposing coaches and players are saying about the Warriors ties back into some of the overall themes that a lot of casual fans aren’t paying attention to. The things literally coming out of the mouths of the teams GSW is playing against will tell you that the rest of the league seems to always be locked in to executing game plan. I would say even more so than vice-versa, based on my observations. And, sure, if you had to point a finger at someone for that, point it at Kerr, fine.
There’s overt acknowledgment from opposing players and coaches that our squad’s style is completely different than the rest of the NBA (with the help of Stephen Curry’s gravity and greatness), and it’s the defense that leads to the remarkable pace.
Even when Golden State loses, opposing teams and players still give them the utmost respect. We actually have a whole playlist on our YouTube channel showing what opponents are saying about the Warriors: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLszalip37vKJGaJIUxvTQCMjgskUspp4B&feature=shares
Below are the notes, quotes and video from OKC and leading up to today’s game at the Memphis Grizzlies, including some league-wide issues pertaining to Ja Morant and Kevin Durant that will affect the Warriors, all in the usual reverse chronological order…
FFV POPS OFF ON NBA REF (SEE BELOW)
STEVE KERR WEEKLY ON 95.7
• Steve Kerr on weekly 95.7 The Game interview (now with Willard & Dibs, no longer Damon & Ratto, see below), some of the shots the Warriors take: “There are times where bad ones (threes) are leading to bad defense.”
• On Draymond giving up after JP didn’t pass him the ball: “There’s no question that it can’t happen… Draymond knows he was wrong. We talked about it at halftime. He let his frustration get the best of him.”
• On DiVincenzo: “Donte has been great. What an addition. A really good fit with our team… Donte’s been fantastic and I’m thrilled for him, because he’ll be a free agent this summer and he’s put himself in a great position going forward.” (Alex Espinoza)
DRAYMOND WEDNESDAY PODCAST
MORE NEWS AFFECTING WARRIORS
• Damon Bruce and Ray Ratto no longer with 95.7 The Game. This appears to be a cost-cutting move, per sources. 95.7 had been doing pretty well in the ratings over the past year-plus, but parent company Audacy's financials have not been doing so well. (Steve Berman) https://theathletic.com/4289794/2023/03/08/957-the-game-damon-bruce-ray-ratto/
• There’s an expectation within the Grizzlies that Ja Morant could be away from the team for an extended time, per Shams Charania on FanDuelTV podcast: “More stringent penalties could come from the league, could come from the police.” (NBACentral)
• Just in: Glendale, Colorado police has closed its investigation into Grizzlies star Ja Morant with no charge or crime: “There was not enough available evidence to charge anyone with a crime.” (Shams Charania)
• Ja Morant will continue to be away from the team for at least the next four games. (Grizzlies PR)
• [Warriors play Phoenix next Monday at Chase Center.] Suns’ Kevin Durant is out tonight vs. Thunder due to a left ankle injury. Durant slipped on court in pregame workouts. (Shams Charania)
• Greg Moore: https://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2023/03/08/kevin-durant-could-miss-remainder-of-regular-season-with-ankle-sprain/69988033007/
The Arizona Republic has learned that there is concern within the organization that Durant has a grade 2 sprain, which would keep him out for between four and six weeks.
DISCLAIMER: These are all just notes for my main workflow of YouTube videos, mostly transcribed by me shortly after the interviews and during my coverage of postgame on our livestreams (!). Sometimes I’ll just use what’s tweeted by beatwriters, as listed. The links to the tweets are not available because sometimes I don’t use the full tweet and just having a ton of tweets on this website imo isn’t aesthetically pleasing and gets away from the main goal: transferring information (not so much entertainment) to the brains of DubNation asap.
0:00 • Mark Daigneault postgame recap: “You gotta be able to take punches because they keep throwing them and they score in bunches. They do a great job of generating their own energy. The game can be going poorly for them and next thing you know, it’s like an 8-0 spurt… they’ve done that for a decade… we just never let ourselves get down.”
1:47 • On what he liked about the looks they got: “This is a team, Golden State, that is the best rim protection team in the league. They give up the fewest shots at the rim, if I’m not mistaken. So they sell out at the rim and in the paint… gotta be able to actively space on the perimeter… shoot confidently.”
3:01 • On Aaron Wiggins’ late block of Steph’s three: “Curry’s always a threat. They do a good job of getting him loose. They screen like crazy… get him cracks and he’s got great feet, he’s just runs around and he’s tough to catch.”
4:30 • On the growing swagger of the team: “Shai and Dort… there’s a contagiousness to their confidence and swagger… against a team like this, you just can’t be meek against them. I thought our confidence and swagger was on display tonight and that’s what you have to have against them.”
4:46 • On Giddey being their biggest player closing the game: “We knew coming into the game they downsize at times… we did it proactively at times… Dieng was at the 5 with Looney out there.”
5:25 • On Dieng: “He’s primed himself for this… That’s a hard game plan, that’s a really good team and a tough team to play against when you haven’t done it before… every stint he’s played, he’s played hard… that’s what prepares you for a challenge like tonight.”
6:00 • On the extra energy in the building: “everything we’re looking at is through the lens of development… it creates a certain weight to the game… we love doing that in the context of a playoff race or whatever but we also have to understand… keeping our head down… stay humble… manage our ego.”
3:15 • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on closing the game with Giddey as the biggest player: “especially against a team like that that is so dynamic offensively, you gotta be able to guard at all positions and rebound at all positions and switch… our versatility helped with that.”
4:56 • Josh Giddey postgame on closing out the game: “A team like that is not gonna go away easily. Steph made some big shots, Klay, Kuminga was good down the stretch. We were trying to take away a lot of their threes so they got some dunks and layups but you kinda gotta pick your poison… we executed really well. They started blitzing Shai but guys were ready to make plays out of it… both ends of the floor… we executed the game plan.”
6:57 • On his chemistry with Shai: “A backcourt grows over time… you look at Steph and Klay, they’ve been together for 10 years and kinda know each other inside-out. Me and Shai have been together for one-and-a-half seasons.”
• Draymond Green postgame locker room with Scoop Brandon Robinson, on any beef with Chris Rock: “I’ve met him once… I did see his comedy special.”
• On the similarities with last season in terms of struggling late last season: “Last year this time of year I was out… 6-7 game losing streak… Steph was out… we’ve been doing this for a long time. Most seasons you kinda have it figured out by now. Last year we didn’t. This year we don’t.”
• On being this generation’s Spurs: “That’s been the golden standard… Coach P… Timmy D, Tony Parker, Manu, David Robinson… Kawhi… everyone strives for that type of consistency… being compared to those guys is such a compliment.”
• On what he needs to improve: “decision-making… turnovers… shooting… as a player you have to make sure you have the right temperament, so temperament.”
• On refs and players finding middle ground: “Stop looking at it as us versus them. I think they look at it that way, I think we look at it that way… we all work together to put a great product out there for the fans of this game.”
• On Steph Curry’s return: “Great to have him back out there. Now we gotta make sure we fill all the pieces in right to make sure that it’s equaling out to wins.”
• On the MVP voting: “These awards carry a huge weight in people’s eyes. For it to be an opinion… my opinion could be affected by, ‘I don’t like you.’ … if there was more of a criteria.”
• On who should be MVP: “It’s still to be decided… Joker… Giannis… Joel… I don’t think one guy in particular has won it yet.”
• Steph Curry postgame OKC on how he felt: “Emotionally all over the place… body responding well.”
• On the Aaron Wiggins foul call challenge: “He got all ball… how much space he got into the body… great defensive play by him.”
• On what went wrong: “In the margin plays… how hard it is to win an NBA game on the road, idc how much you’ve won in the past… momentum swings that make it even more difficult… continue to stay accountable those moments where you give the other team life… turnover, missed box-out, not getting back in transition… those are things you can control… on the road, it’s tough.”
• On getting more urgency: “The fact that we are not in a safe enough spot to do that… look at the standings and keep it real… they won five games in a row because you can rally around me short-handed and guys played amazing. You go out on the road, those same principles apply… we haven’t shown that we can do that… just the vibe around how ere playing… keep repeating that until you’re blue in the face until you actually do that.”
• On building momentum: “if we take advantage of it… I’m saying the same thing, but win on the road, win a tough game… nobody can say we played consistent… the reward at the end is great enough to fight through what we’ve been through… the confidence has to remain.”
• (inaudible, some kind of off-the-court endeavor): “Opportunity to connect with somebody who loves the game of basketball… glad there’s some energy coming back around to what a simple tweet meant… keep working, enjoy the game no matter where you land… the game will continue to give if you pour into it.”
• On what’s coming up: “Always confident, that’s why we show up but you’d like to have something to show for it… wild atmosphere (coming up in Memphis)… confidence never wavers but it gets frustrating.”
• Steve Kerr postgame OKC recap: “Gave up 137 points. We never got any traction… downhill on us… third quarter… 12 free throws… 17 threes and 53% shooting, you’re not gonna win.”
• On the slow starts: “If I knew I would obviously tell the team what was happening… slow starts… (had a different stating five)… swimming upstream… went up four mid-3rd but all that fouling.”
• On how frustrating the road losses are after the 5-0 homestand: “Yeah it’s frustrating but we gotta keep going… move on to Memphis.”
• On the Draymond yell at Poole: “I thought we were a little disconnected in the first half several times. We talked about that at halftime… compete… definitely a disconnect in the first half and that cost us.”
• On what the toughest part about the OKC is: “The combination of Giddey and Shai coming downhill on us… they controlled the whole game with their physicality.”
Warriors-OKC behind-the-scenes: Steph Curry courtside, pleads with refs; Jonathan Kuminga dunk 🔨$20k halfcourt shot made! 💦💰 Viola the bike lady 🚲; Thunder mascot Rumble on the drums 🥁
0:00 KERR PREGAME AUDIO: OKC beatwriters asking a lot of questions
10:30 or so: tipoff! (Loon did not win the tip because he didn't start, it was JK)
15:00 9min44 Q1 Shai goes right by JK on the PNR
16:15 9min35 Steph awful sling pass, Klay awful heat-check, awful oreb by Giddey
17:30 8min20 Dray 3 breaks the trance, everyone game-planning as they let Dray shoot
18:15 7min58 JP in for Donte
18:30 7min50 JK dunk via PNR with Steph
19:30 6min50 Dray let Jaylin splash
20:00 6min30 late call Shai push-off on JK (Andre in for him)
21:30 6min10 JP corner 3 via Steph, the value of JP and this lineup
22:45 5min15 goat 3, foul?
23:15 4min30 Andre great D on Lu corner 3, Steph goat dime to AI dunk, if I had to make a list, I'd attribute the "slow start" to OKC young guys just getting up to play GSW, then maybe rust by Steph and Dray not being able to finish, Shai's greatness, things like that; Cholo says it could be conserving energy for later, which I agree with (you want to pace yourself)
27:15 Andre to Loon and-one 3min45
28:00 3min30 Donte great POA vs Shai
30:00 Andre 2 tov but got a steal then tov by himself, good box-out reb vs Saric
30:30 1min35 JP didn't come up for Klay's pass
30:45 easy bucket for OKC, Klay wards off Saric on the layup (Donte's fault?)
31:45 0min40 Klay late on the Saric 3
33:00 the only Wiggins sibling to post something on IG lately is Nick who's playing pro in Iraq
35:30 11min44 Q2 J-Mike 3 via tiki-taka, then charge on Dort vs Steph (love his positional D)
36:30 PBJ in the rotation (!), first shot in and out
37:00 10min32 goat on fire!
38:00 9min55 don't mind the Steph heat-check
38:30 9min37 Josh Tiven calls a reach-around foul on Dort incredible!
39:15 it's the swing-swing's we wanna get, a good barometer (JP missed on one after the Tiven call)
40:00 good hustle by J-Mike so far (3, block, and a hard foul leading to a missed FT by Waters)
41:45 8min40 was Steph fouled? It used to be that refs would call a foul if it ended up a tov after a reach-in (by Waters)
44:15 8min35 Waters 3, he and Dieng are killing us
45:15 7min50 Donte talk giving advice to PBJ for D
46:00 7min49 JK tiki-taka via Dray
46:45 7min30 Shai fakes out JK, Kerr TO, wonder how they adjust, maybe they go box-and-1 or some form of zone
50:30 6min30 Donte stole a fast break!
51:30 no minutes restriction for Steph per Steve pregame
52:45 5min53 good POA by JP on Wiggins, inbound to Jaylin targeted Loon
53:15 5min30 Donte breaks up an OKC tiki-taka
54:15 4min55 JP downhill to JK dunk!
54:30 4min40 Klay great D, didn't feel like we should be down 13, but the NBA game is fast, isn't it? Donte FTs cut the lead to 5
55:45 4min05 JP elite stop-n-go!
56:15 3min50 JP POA on Isaiah Joe!
56:45 3min20 JK good POA on Shai leads to layup by Dray
57:45 2min40 Klay 3 on the curl
58:30 2min12 Steph 3 no landing spot on Shai?
59:00 1min40 JP runner and-one not called
59:15 1min20 Steph comes back after a Wiggins reverse
59:45 0min55 Dray pouts when JP doesn't hit him in the middle, then doesn't go back on D, but OKC screws it up -- CRAZY SEQUENCE
0min27 Dort for 3 pull-up two-for-1? we're watching the rookie soph game
1:01:00 Adam Silver somewhere is doing the Antonio Banderas gif, super-fast entertaining game, it's like a video game! Even JP and Klay had clean looks at the buzzer
1:02:30 THIS IS THE FUTURE OF THE NBA (NO 5s ALLOWED)
'1:03:00 50% FGP! You can't even do a breakdown video of this (every clip is needed)
1:04:15 Commenters saying they are miffed by Dray's attitude with JP: I do get it, though, playing with youngsters who don't know really how to play the right way on the pickup playground
1:08:00 we get everybody's worst version online (DIATRIBE) thus it is impossible to observe the game and LEARN from what experts are doing (Kerr)
1:16:00 why I don't want to give information to people who throw Warriors under the bus
1:17:00 why root for the Warriors? Go root for the Cavs. It's stupid to be outraged all the time
1:18:00 11min20 JK great extra cut tiki-taka, Steph wanted an and-one
1:21:45 9min40 JK lets Giddey turn the corner, Wiggs has the ability to block that shot (can do weakside but can't do on-ball)
1:23:30 if "we need a big man" were true, then why is OKC so "stubborn" in trading away Muscala and also never having a big man, they don't have a Claxton, Rob Williams, they know what they don't have, they know what's not out there, therefore they maximize their program, their identity and they have also embraced small-ball1:25:45 8m30 Donte got a hand on the steal1:26:15 8m12 Steph yells at Klay to stay down on the zone, I love seeing that because Steph didn't do that on the 0-5 road trip, but ofc we didn't a have a game plan like this in the past1:26:45 7m52 Shai airball, we're not letting him beat us 1on11:29:30 6min44 ghost foul on Loon, Steph can't believe it1:33:00 5min32 Klay nice game so far, tapped it to Loon unselfishly for an and-one1:35:00 5min10 Loon another bad screen? Last one vs Shai was ticky-tack
1:36:30 analyzing the Loon foul1:38:15 JP on the help, Dort still got by him 4min27 (foul)1:39:15 Steph bad screen, the fouls are slowing the game down 4min20
1:40:15 Dort called for bad screen as well (5th), good because he guards Steph well1:42:00 3min32 Andre may have been more mad at Donte for the reach-in than the whistle
1:42:30 2min55 Klay 3 via swing-swing-swing via J-Mike cold off the bench1:45:45 ATO Dray dunk via early slip pass, Steph came back in1:47:15 1min00 Dray now covering Shai, 0min55 good job by J-Mike not to hesitate1:48:00 0min19.3 Donte beauty screen for Steph 31:51:15 first play Q4 DPOY1:52:15 11min14 heat-check timeout by Daigneault1:58:15 9m50 Jaylin dunk, Donte's fault?, Steph throws the ball away, Dray says my fault
2:04:00 8min00 no call charge by Giddey on Steph2:04:30 turnover Klay, it's the Hall of Famers screwing up right now
2:08:15 4min56 Klay (and JP) can't hit open corner 3s, mental funk when things aren't going right2:09:45 4min15 Klay fly by cuts it to 10
2:12:00 analyzing the 3m22 travel on JK2:13:00 Steph turnover at about 3m0 should do it2:15:15 1m27 JK dunk tiki-taka is back2:16:15 idk if it's Steph coming back and going, "Oh yeah every young team we play has a target on our backs", but 40-point first quarters are killing us2:19:15 analyzing the foul on JK vs Dort -- you certainly don't call that in the Finals, you call that in a pickup game you'd be laughed off the playground
2:22:15 Tom Washington joke call of a foul on Donte 1m122:25:00 0m53 Shai shouldn't be dribbling in a trap in the corner, ref bails you out, that's a bad ref, ref shouldn't bail you out of a mistake they teach you not to do in grade school2:32:30 my number one fix: understand that you've still got a target on your back, you are the Warriors, you are the defending champs, you cannot give up 40 points in the 1st quarter2:34:00 literally looking at my notes above from Q12:45:00 HOT TAKE: We don't matchup well against OKC without GP2 and the root cause is the POA which is still not that good. If we had a Game 2 vs OKC, based on the lack POA vs Shai (by JK), I would actually try starting Andre on Shai in G2, or after we go down 2-0 or 2-12:46:45 even if Ja played Thursday, I'd be more hopeful that we could have a better chance at POA than Shai who can hit a midrange (12/19 tonight meaning 17-feet an inward), we can't run them off the floor2:56:45 only problem with Donte is he's giving up 3 inches on Shai but maybe in a G2 you try Donte vs Shai to start
2:59:00 one underestimate factor is now we are the "defending champs" and teams are more locked in on us than we are to them, and that's just an adjustment we either figure out or we don't -- that's what I've learned, taking it from a positive mindframe
3:01:00 if I am to rarely criticize Steve: at the beginning of the season, the year after a championship, this one is different than a newbie champion that feels like they've arrive, we had already arrived with our 4th championship and so we were not prepared for the "defending champs" label, but the caveat to throwing Kerr under the bus is this hasn't really happened before -- unless you're a knowledge Spurs fan and can tell us what happened for them; or maybe we're seeing just a brand new thing we've never seen before3:04:30 the solution that we sense: isn't it mental? Therefore it's not physical and "small-ball lineup is a terrible idea" is not correct, our salary cap structure already imprints small-ball forever with the top four salaries3:28:00 people don't get up for "we're playing the team that got ousted by Memphis in the play-in", they get up for "we're playing the defending champs"3:29:15 keeping a perspective, a tweet comes in from Dallas: Jason Kidd: "For us, we’ve got to do better. Defensively we’ve got to figure out how to get stops, and then we’ve got to figure out how to take care of the ball."
4:05:30 Marc J. Spears' story turning a negative into a positive on IG
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Regarding the need for a big man, you did catch the full statement right? "So they sell out at the rim and in the paint." One could conclude from that that selling out at the rim and in the paint is hurting their perimeter defense and allowing teams open looks in the mid-range and from 3 which would be supported by the other comment in your article "The Thunder ended up nearly posting a 50-40-90 as a team. The Dubs yielded 137 points in the process."