OAKLAND — The Warriors won their sixth consecutive game Tuesday with a 114-101 victory against the Brooklyn Nets, but the end result is the only thing to be celebrated.
Against a well-coached, plucky, but ultimately talent-depraved Nets team, the Warriors played one of their most bizarre games of the season, jumping out to a big first-half lead, only to give back all 21 points of that advantage (and then some) before ultimately locking down on defense and putting the Nets away.
It was a disjointed and dispirited effort from the Warriors, who were coming off a three-day break.
And on a night where the Houston Rockets won their 16th consecutive game with a beat-‘em-down performance against the Thunder in Oklahoma City, the Warriors’ less-than-inspiring performance resonated even more than usual — at least for me.
Still, a win is a win, and the Warriors have a chance to redeem themselves (or not) Thursday against the Spurs.
Here’s what we learned in Tuesday’s contest:
The NBA is a game of runs, but that was ridiculous. The Warriors looked like they were going to make easy work of the Nets when they went on a 25-0 run in the first quarter.
If only it were that simple. The Nets bounced back in the second quarter and outscored the Warriors by 21 in the frame (the Warriors were held to 13 points in the second frame).
“I just thought they outplayed us,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game. “Every time we play them, this happens. They came after us, we let our guard down, started turning the ball over and it was a game again.”
The Warriors were able to turn it around in the second half, though it was touch-and-go for a while. (More on that later.)
Obviously, the Warriors have the ability to lay waste to the Nets on any given night, and Kerr is correct — Brooklyn brings its best night in, night out, — but for the game to swing so wildly was still a bit jarring. Effort couldn’t be the only culprit behind that, no sir.
Stephen Curry did shed some light on how Tuesday’s game might have come to pass, though:
“Our job, when we’re out there, no matter if we’re playing well or it’s a grind-it-out game, or we’re playing from behind, is to not let our body language dictate the vibe out there on the court,” Curry said. “We got better at it in the second half — they were still made a couple runs, but we were able to stay aggressive, stay positive, and keep pushing and create separation.”
Body language can, indeed, have an amazing effect on the game, and there’s no doubt that the Warriors are an expressive team.
It’s been easy to notice the Warriors’ body language when they’re complaining to officials (as they do often) or making big runs (same) — but it’s the reactions to the small runs, the 6-0, 10-2 spurts, that I’ll be paying close attention to moving forward.
Curry admitted Tuesday that the Warriors need to be more composed down the stretch and that when they failed to live up to that standard in the first half against the Nets, it played a role in squandering a 21-point lead.