Golden State is coming off a loss in which they never led and gave up 115 points to the Bobcats. The Warriors check in with a 4-7 record (4-6 without Iguodala) since my last update, and have seemed to forget how to play without the newly acquired and now injured Andre Iguodala.
Iguodala’s injury enhances the Warriors two biggest weaknesses: perimeter defense and depth. Golden State has struggled against high scoring guards that can get to the basket. Kemba Walker scored 27 2nd half points in last night’s loss. The Warriors have given up almost 8 more points a contest since the Lakers game when Iguodala went down. And replacing him in the starting lineup with Barnes makes an already thin bench even thinner.
Enough with the negativity, there are many reasons to believe the Warriors can turn this around while Iguodala is out. The Warriors finally ended an 11-game losing streak to the Grizzlies with a 26-point victory in Memphis, Steph Curry is still an MVP candidate averaging 23.6 points and 8.9 assists per game, and Golden State overcame a 27-point deficit (18 to start the 4th) in a 112-103 win over the Toronto Raptors last week.
In the comeback victory, the Warriors outscored Toronto 42-15 in the final quarter. They have also seemed to find a new inspirational leader in Jermaine O’ Neal. At halftime, O’ Neal gave a speech that Klay Thompson called “one of the realest speeches I’ve ever heard”. O’ Neal has been banged up and made fun of in each of my last two posts, but has seemed to take on a serious leadership role on this team. Check out this video for a rare regular season, inspiring, postgame interview from Jermaine.
Up next: The Warriors play 7 of their next 9 games at home, with all 9 games being against Western Conference teams. If the playoffs started today, the Warriors would be on the outside looking in. This stretch could go a long way in reversing that, as Golden State is just 2 games back of division leading and current 4-seed, the Los Angeles Clippers.
More inspiration for the Warriors: This Celtics fan utilized his one chance at fame like nobody else. He also now holds the record for most graceful descend down 18 rows of seats.