Warriors defense lacking in loss to Nuggets



Warriors defense lacking in loss to Nuggets

SAN FRANCISCO — Draymond Green was doing a lot of things right Friday night in the Warriors’ first-round rematch against Western Conference foe Denver Nuggets.

He pushed the ball and was finding his teammates to make plays on both ends of the floor. He finished with 13 points, three rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two blocks in 27 minutes, a slight increase from Tuesday’s season opener as Golden State slowly lifts his early season minute restriction.

“Draymond was fantastic,” coach Steve Kerr said after the Warriors’ nearly overcame a 22-point deficit in the second half in their 128-123 defeat. “Energy was great. Just played so hard.”

Green had a valiant defensive effort, including a fourth-quarter block on Nikola Jokic. But he believes he was partly to blame for the team lacking defensive energy from the jump, which resulted in Golden State playing from behind for the final three quarters.

“We didn’t start off with a strong defensive presence… That’s on me,” Green said. “Whether I was out there or not, we were awful defensively. We have to set a tone on that side of the floor and that starts with me.”

Green is the mainstay traffic-controller on the Warriors defense, and he knows his team is more than capable of having one of the best defensive units in the league as it did last season.

But Golden State didn’t have defensive intensity out of the gates and dug itself into a double-digit hole by halftime.

After allowing the Lakers to score 109 points in the season opener, a game Golden State ultimately won, the Warriors gave up 40 points in the first quarter alone as the Nuggets had their way, shooting 65.4% from the field and making five of their seven attempts from 3-point range. The away team scored 70 points by halftime.

The Nuggets “got into such a great rhythm and they were clearly the aggressors,” Kerr said. “We expected them to come out and play like this because of their loss in Utah a couple of nights ago. I thought they just came out with way more force than we did and set the tone, and then at that point, it’s tough, playing upstream against a great team.

“I loved our effort in the second half. I thought our guys competed and gave ourselves a chance and it was just too much to overcome after falling behind by 20… The effort overall in the second half overall was lacking in the first. That’s what put us in trouble tonight.”

The starters all finished with positive plus/minuses. Green was plus-13, but the Warriors’ defense collapsed when he was off the floor.

The Warriors’ reserves struggled immensely, with all but Moses Moody finishing in the negative.

Kerr is still experimenting with lineup combinations, something that will continue especially with Green and Klay Thompson playing under minute restrictions.

“The second unit, that’s going to all shake out here over the next few weeks. We don’t have a set rotation yet. We’re trying a lot of different people,” Kerr said. “That’s going to take a little while to sort out.”

The Warriors defense was managed by former assistant coach Mike Brown, who will return to Chase Center Sunday as the first-year head coach of the Sacramento Kings. Assistant coach Chris DeMarco helped Brown last season, where the Warriors posted one of the best defensive ratings in the league. DeMarco is serving as a guiding bridge from last season to this season, helping Kenny Atkinson who took over main defensive coordinator duties, Kerr said.

The Warriors have a small sample size with just two games under their belt. Green is confident the Warriors can establish their identity and again be one of the hardest teams in the league to go up against.

“Our defense will be great and I have no doubt in my mind about that,” he said. “It takes time to put it all together. That’s learning to follow a gameplan, personnel and all of these different things that goes into it. I don’t have a doubt that we will be great on that end of the floor. Just like everything else, it all has to come together.”


Soruce : https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/10/22/draymond-green-warriors-defense-awful-in-loss-to-nuggets/

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