If you’re wondering what the hell got into the Warriors last night in the 4th quarter, when they led the Rockets 82-70 … well, it was a combination of things:
- The Warriors had won 16 straight playoff games at home, and the average margin of victory was 17. They had been in one close playoff game since Kevin Durant arrived – dating back to Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference Finals vs the Spurs. The game Kawhi Leonard got hurt. The Spurs were totally rattled and blew the lead.
- 16 turnovers and 14 assists? Gross. The 14 assists were a season-low.
- The Andre Iguodala loss was massive at both ends. The Warriors defensive switches were clunky and left Rockets players open for 3-pointers; on a pivotal possession late, Golden State gave up two offensive rebounds that led to a 3-pointer.
- I didn’t hear this talked about last night, but Durant played a season-high 43 minutes; Stephen Curry tied a season-high with 39 minutes. The Warriors are so used to blowing teams out, their stars never have to play heavy minutes. In the final five minutes, the offense was lazy and the shot selection poor. This ties back into the Iguodala injury.
- The Rockets only shot 39 percent from the field and 31 percent on 3-pointers … yet won in Oracle? The only way the Warriors have lost playoff games when Curry and Durant played? Opposing role players went off from deep. Well, Ariza, Tucker, and Tucker were 3-of-13.
Too early to make a pick for Game 5, but the Iguodala situation is crucial. They’re going to need him, especially on the road. Nobody could possibly trust Nick Young in heavy minutes; Jordan Bell played great in spurts, but on the road it’s a different animal.
I still have faith in the Warriors to win the series, but that faith was certainly shaken for the first time since they added Durant.