Jayson Tatum and DeMarcus Cousins

USA Today

Bad Night For Warriors

Boston 128, Golden State 95.

March 06, 2019 - 12:04 pm
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Boston 128
Golden State 95

Yes, you heard me. Boston 128, Golden State 95. Of all the possible outcomes I was expecting going into last night’s Celtics-Warriors game, Boston handing Golden State the worst home loss of the Steve Kerr Era was not on my radar. 

Not when the Celtics came into that game looking and acting as terribly as they had. Not when Kyrie Irving was passing the buck after every game, owning nothing, not leading from the front, and even spouting gibberish about not wanting to be famous on off-days, too. 

And then last night happened. Last night, everything happened. Gordon Hayward was going off for 30. Kyrie had 19 points, 11 assists. Jaylen Brown had 18 points and this epic piece of nastiness. 

Boston had it working.

Jayson Tatum was getting wide open in the paint.

There wasn’t a Warrior within 10 feet of Tatum on that play. 

And then there was this from Tatum on KD:

GIMME THAT! He just snatched KD’s soul. That’s one of the most impressive blocks in that building since LeBron’s chasedown back in the day. 

That’s a second year player going up and ripping that down from a Hall of Famer. And as crazy as it is to say, based on what Tatum did in the playoffs last year, that’s what was expected of him this year. 

And that hasn’t always happened. But it happened last night. 

And it comes back to the thing that I’ve said before with this team – the issue isn’t talent. They have more talent than they know what to do with. Some of the problem is that the talent is at different stages – you’ve got veteran talent and you’ve got really young talent and they’re trying to figure it out together. And the leadership from guys like Kyrie, at least publicly, hasn’t been there.

But the problem for this Celtics team has never been about talent. It’s something else. And if they could figure out the “something else” they can flip the switch in a way that almost no team has ever been able to.

Well, no team not named the Warriors. Because after all this time, no one is better at throwing the switch than the Champs. And yes, that means that I’m cutting off that “Warriors panic button” talk right now. Stop it.  

I’m sure they aren’t pumped about getting run out of their own building. Or about losing three of their last four. But I doubt they’re panicking. 

Sure, their defense was pretty lousy last night. And teams are going to find ways to attack Boogie Cousins at the defensive end.

Steve Kerr said afterwards: “Looked to me like we were jogging up the floor. Can’t play basketball jogging. You gotta sprint. …We did not go all out. It was embarrassing.”

And he had more: “It starts with a passion, an anger, an intensity and it wasn’t there tonight.”

When Kevin Durant was asked about the team playing with anger, he said: “I thought we moved off joy. Now anger? I disagree with that one. I think all around, top to bottom, coaches, players, we just have got to be better.”

And so there will be folks looking to blow that up and make it into something huge. Kevin Durant disagrees with Steve Kerr! Are the Warriors in trouble?!? It’s time to freak the hell out!

The run is over! The Warriors have been exposed! And then everyone rushes to update their power rankings and come out with some new list that shows just how horrible the Warriors are and how much trouble they’re in. And that the Rockets are really the team to beat now, not Golden State. 

Ehhhhhh!!  Wrong answer. Per usual. The Warriors are not in trouble.  At all.  And yes, they’re still the team to beat.  Sure…, they’re figuring out the defense with Cousins and the intensity is something they’re going to want to ramp up. It seemed like there might have been more fire and intensity in some of the post-game press conference answers than in the game itself.

But they didn’t need that game last night. Boston did. The Celtics needed that win in the worst way and the Warriors didn’t need it at all. And they both played like it.

There is nothing with them at the moment that can’t be fixed by getting healthy and getting to the playoffs.  

The Warriors went 7-10 down the stretch last year. They were getting hammered by Portland, San Antonio, Utah, Indiana twice, and the list goes on. 7 wins, 10 losses in their final 17 games last season! That’s a .411 winning percentage. That’s this year’s Washington Wizards. And then went 16-5 in the playoffs and won yet another title. 

Maybe one of these times they go to throw the switch and nothing happens.  Or maybe they are finally burned out. Maybe they are finally exhausted after years of deep playoff runs. 

Or maybe... they know they haven’t played a meaningful game since last June and that all the talk in the world about the importance of the regular season and not wanting to have to flip a switch, is just that, talk. And that there’s really nothing they can do to fire themselves up for a mid-week game in March against the Celtics.  I’m going with that.  They’re the team to beat.  The Warriors are now in the class of the Patriots. Go out and throw dirt on em; because I’m sure as hell not going to.  Or smashing the panic button in early march.  . Eventually, this run will come to an end, but I’ll believe it’s over when it’s actually over. And not before that.  Nothing to see here.  Nothing to grip about.  That beatdown last night means nothing.  The Larry O is still theirs until someone rips it out of their hands, and I don’t see that happening this year.