The Golden State Warriors are surprising a lot of people, but the team continually needs to make adjustments to ensure postseason success. They are succeeding when the game is in the clutch moments. But there are a lot of mistakes that the Warriors need to curtail.
The main problem for the Warriors is lack of execution. They are not holding on to the ball at times, they are making mental mistakes and they give up big runs that almost take them out of games.
The first item that the Warriors need to focus on is holding on to the ball. Everyone on the team is guilty of giving up turnovers, including Stephen Curry.
In Game 1, Curry was trying to carry the team on his back and give the Warriors the lead. However, he drove into a double-team, and Nuggets guard Ty Lawson picked Curry from the side.
Lawson took the ball, drove to the basket for a very difficult layup and put the Warriors down three points instead of one.
This is playoff basketball, and every player should be playing at a higher plateau. Each Warriors player needs to be aware of his 360-degree surroundings at all times. Turnovers lead to free points and sometimes, those free points are backbreaking momentum changers.
No player is perfect, but if each Warriors player can limit the turnovers, the team will have a marginal advantage.
The Warriors are currently the worst playoff team when it comes to turnovers. They are giving up 19.3 turnovers per game through Game 3, while the Nuggets are only giving away 14.7 freebies. The Warriors committed 14.8 per game in the regular season.
The bottom line is that the Nuggets have earned 60 free points because of Warriors’ mistakes, while the Dubs have scored 52 points off Denver miscues.
The next portion of execution that the team needs to work on is lessening the mental mistakes. Flawless execution should be the standard. Consistent mental errors will lead to opponents taking advantage.
As you can see from this highlight, Jarrett Jack gets stuck with a five-second violation in the closing seconds of Game 3.
As fabulously as he played in that game to get the Warriors back from the 12-point halftime deficit, he made a huge error in the final minute of the game.
Coach Mark Jackson came over near the five-second mark to help out, but it was too late. Standard practice is that when the inbounder cannot find an open player by three seconds, he defers to the timeout. The Warriors had only a one-point lead, but they had one 20-second timeout left.
The Warriors lucked out. Warrior-killer Ty Lawson was defended well by center Festus Ezeli and turned the ball over out of bounds. The team barely escaped that error, as the Nuggets had a chance to win the game in the final second with a half-court heave by Andre Iguodala that bounced off the rim.
The Warriors earned a series lead, but it could have been very different because of the mistake.
Another part of execution that has plagued the Warriors all season is giving up big runs. In the second quarter of Game 3, the Warriors were outscored by 12 points.
The 12 points came at the end of the half, just like when the Warriors gave up the momentum by allowing another big run at the same time in Game 1.
This is a common theme this season. The Warriors usually have a stretch where they don’t convert any baskets, make a few turnovers and find themselves with a large disadvantage.
They usually come back with stronger efforts during the third and fourth quarters of games. If they have to face more disciplined teams like the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder, those two teams will not let the Warriors make a comeback.
Coach Jackson needs to be wise with his timeouts, as he can’t let the game play out if the Warriors start to give up a big run. He needs to stem the tide and give his players a stern talk during the timeout.
The Warriors have lost their star power forward David Lee, but they have the depth and Coach Jackson has made the necessary adjustments. However, if this team wants to continue to surprise the NBA, they will need to perfect the little things in the game.
Curry is a burgeoning star in this league, and this team is changing the culture and perception of two painful decades. If the Warriors can limit the turnovers and mental mistakes, the sky is the limit.