"It's been called pretty tight," Green told reporters . "We were told that. Defense isn't really an emphasis anymore in this league. So I think you 're seeing it all around the league with these high scores. We know what the emphasis is. Just got to be better and we haven't done that in three games. Maybe we win two of them, but it caught us tonight."
While the sample size is small, Green's point may be better served focusing on pace. There are only three teams averaging fewer than 100 possessions per game. Last season, only five teams total averaged 100 possessions per game. The Los Angeles Lakers are averaging 112 possessions, 10 more than any team did a year ago.
Part of this is because of a rule change that reduces the shot clock to 14 seconds following an offensive rebound. That's reduced 10 seconds from the clock on those possessions, leading to quicker shots. Part is simply teams are playing faster. They have begun recognizing the benefits of quick shots and aren't taking the air out of the ball as much.
And, of course, there's the whole sample-size thing. Pace will slow down across the league to at least a certain extent over time, and defensive numbers will look better. Free-throw attempt rate numbers are higher so far this season, but that is mostly the result of a few outliers (including Denver).
Stephen Curry added the following:
"A lot of it is just the speed of the game. You can't really simulate defensive possessions like that in the offseason; you got to kind of adjust on the fly. It's definitely called differently this year early—they've demonstrated that. So we got to adjust if that's the way it's going to be consistently.
"But that's a common theme the first three games of the regular season. Why teams have had a lot of momentum early, it's because we put them on the free-throw line. Obviously, you know how that affects the game in terms of easy points and also slowing the game down. We got to make adjustments."
For their part, the Warriors rank eighth in defensive efficiency, so their defense isn't a huge problem.