SAN FRANCISCO – After a day to regroup, the Warriors on Thursday convened for video review of their season-opening loss to the Phoenix Suns, immediately followed by a light practice session.
“Anytime you miss shots, you can pick out 100 things,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We should have set this screen lower, should have cut here. But when you make shots, you don’t even notice that stuff.
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“So, it’s important to really look at what’s happening, which we did. Took a good look at the film. We showed a lot of clips to the players today. There were definitely possessions where we needed better spacing. But there were also a lot of good clips where we just missed shots.”
The Warriors missed 13 shots at the rim and five more within 10 feet – in the first half. If most of that is not fixable, they might as well start preparing for an offseason that begins in April.
“Obviously, we missed many layups – me first,” Dario Sarić, whose 3-of-11 shooting included four misses in layup range and two more within seven feet. “I should be better on that.”
While the Warriors were shooting 35.6 percent from the field, including 23.3 percent beyond the arc, they also were committing sloppy fouls and, particularly in the lead-blowing fourth quarter, neglecting rebounding fundamentals.
Golden State Warriors
“The two biggest areas of the game were fouling jump shooters in the first half, which allowed them to play from ahead,” Kerr said. “And then, the offensive rebounding. They got a lot of second-chance opportunities, which ultimately won the game for them.”
Phoenix’s 28-16 fourth-quarter finish, allowing it to erase an eight-point deficit and win by four, was built largely on its 16-9 rebounding advantage – including six offensive rebounds that produced 10 points.
Put simply, rebounding often was a challenge last season and will be again this season. The Warriors are, once again, a relatively small NBA team with an inconsistent mentality regarding rebounding. On nights when their determination is missing, they’re bound to get clobbered.
There was, however, an encouraging sign, one that Sarić was quick to point out. When the Warriors are committed to moving the ball – which they were at times in the opener, as indicated by recording only 19 assists – they can offset the size disadvantage.
“I think we are great team because we have guys who can play with the ball but are really good without the ball,” Sarić said. “The most important thing sometimes is just to swing the ball from one side to the other side. Especially when you play a (bigger) team. If you’re moving side to side, it’s kind of hard for them to guard.”
As simple as it sounds, the Warriors too often failed to follow that script, which is in bold lettering in Kerr’s system. It came and went last season, and the belief is it will be more consistently applied this season.
Not so much in the opener.
The old axiom, “film don’t lie,” lives on even though use of film is passé in the digital age. It’s now video that always exposes the truth, and the Warriors already have discovered a few facts.
It was apparent that the Warriors are not nearly the team they believe they will be. Newcomer Chris Paul, as well as Kerr, said before opening night that it’s going to take some time. Consider that fair warning.
But if their four-point loss in the first game is any indication, and likelihood of Draymond Green’s return in a few days, they might not be that far away.