Warriors news: Frontcourt woes overshadow stellar guard play

One of the most entertaining aspects the of 2012-13 NBA season has been watching the Golden State Warriors thrive behind growth of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson as stars in the league. 

But as losers of seven of their last 10 games, including four straight, Golden State is now reeling. Worse yet, the steady play of the backcourt is being negated by deficiencies inside. One such case was on Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers on the road in a 104-97 loss. Thompson and Curry combined for 59 points, shot  10-for-21 from the 3-point line and had six steals. 

On the other hand, the trio of Festus Ezeli, David Lee and Harrison Barnes shot just 9-for-25, just 36 percent from the field. That’s a particularly troubling number considering their looks typically come from within six feet. But can this game be considered a microcosm of what’s been ailing the Warriors of late? 

The answer lies in an area known as the hustle stats — namely rebounding and defense. After the All-Star break,Golden State is allowing over two more points per game (101.2 vs. 103.5) to opponents and giving up more rebounds (43.0 vs. 43.4). When numbers like that start to dwindle, the Warriors need to look to their lone All-Star. Lee has scored at a lesser clip (19.0 ppg vs. 17.0 ppg) since the break, but he’s rebounded at a higher rate (14.6 vs. 10.8). Those extra possessions are being squandered by bad defense and shooting inefficiency. 

It means they’re losing effort, their legs or both, and either way, it’s a bad sign. Of major concern as the Warriors trend downward is their performance against the Western Conference this season. They’re 18-18 against teams out west, but they’ve given up an astounding 104.3 points per game in those contests. If they can’t fix their shooting woes, especially on high-percentage looks, it’s going to be yet another disappointing year for NBA fans in the Bay Area. 

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His credits include Yahoo Sports and Bleacher Report, among others.


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