How has the Warriors’ offense done in close games this year? How about you be the judge

I know they have stats for wins and losses in three-point games and wins and losses in five-point games, etc., but I have another way of determining what a close game is or not: Whether I think it was or not.

By my count, the Warriors have played 10 games this year that came down to the last few minutes, the last few possessions — crunch time, if you will — the times when games are decided. I’ve got them 5-5 in those games, including 0-3 in overtime games.

You might quibble that there should be another couple or few games among this list. Fair enough. These are the ones that jumped out to me.

There have been a few criticisms of the Warriors so far this season, and, yes, that’s even while they’ve rolled to a league-best 43-8 record. They include their propensity for turnovers, their questionable late-game shot selection and their inability, at times, to compete with the opponent’s physicality. There’s also a perception out there that the Warriors haven’t played well at the offensive end during close games. I figured I’d take a look at the dozen games and tally up how they did at that end when the game was on the line.

–At Milwaukee: Warriors 124, Bucks 121 — The Warriors were up 14 points with under seven minutes remaining, so they withstood Bucks’ comeback … and blew that lead, which may become a little bit of a theme.

After Stephen Curry bucket made it 122-117 with 2:47 remaining, the Warriors’ possessions went as follows: Kevin Durant missed 3, Draymond Green miss, Curry missed 3, Green miss, Durant miss. That’s no field goals in five big possessions.

It didn’t matter because Green stole a Tony Snell inbounds pass with a second left to preserve the win.

–Vs. Atlanta: Warriors 105, Hawks 100 — Golden State was up eight with three minutes remaining after a Curry 3. The remaining possessions went like this: Andre Iguodala missed 3, Durant missed 3, Klay Thompson miss; Durant basket, Curry missed 3, Curry missed 3, turnover. That’s 1-for-7 from the floor, including 0-for-4 from 3-point range and a turnover.

Didn’t matter. Green made two tremendous defensive plays — on on Dennis Schroeder, the other on Kent Bazemore — to preserve the win.

–Vs. Rockets: Houston 132, Warriors 127 (2OT) — The Warriors did not end this game well, particularly from beyond the arc. While the Warriors made plenty of offensive plays late in regulation and the first overtime, one statistic jumps out at you in a big way: They were 1-for-14 from 3-point range the final 2:46 of regulation and both overtimes. Their tendency to try for the home-run 3 was evident in this one.

–At New Orleans: Warriors 113, Pelicans 109: This was the game where it wasn’t a foul on Draymond Green, then it was, then it wasn’t again … or was it? The play of the game in this one was, again, a defensive play by Green, who stripped Anthony Davis with one second left and a two-point lead.

The league ruled Green should have been called for a foul in the last two-minute review, but the officials’ union came out later and said the call was correct. Nevertheless, the play hid another suspect effort from the Warriors at the offensive end.

In the last five minutes, Golden State scored just six points and their possessions were as follows: missed 3, miss, turnover, miss, Curry jumper, turnover, missed 3, Curry layup, missed 3, miss, miss, miss. If you’re keeping score at home that’s 2-for-11 down the stretch with a couple of turnovers.

–At Detroit: Warriors 119, Pistons 113 — This may have been the Warriors’ best late-game offense. The Warriors were down one with two minutes left. They scored on five of their last six possessions, with Thompson being the player to hit two big shots — and they were very good shots, off simple curls.

One was two-pointer, the other a 3-pointer. Other nice thing about this one was that Thompson, Curry, Durant and Green all scored in the game’s final two minutes.

–At Cleveland: Cavaliers 109, Warriors 108 — We all remember this one. The Warriors were up 14 points with 9 1/2 minutes left and ended up losing. In the last 3:17, the Warriors were 2-for-8 from the field with three turnovers.

–Vs. Memphis: Grizzlies 128, Warriors 119 (OT) — In a game where you blow a 24-point, second-half lead and one in which you were up 19 after three quarters, it’s tough to pinpoint exactly when the important possessions began. But the fourth-quarter numbers in this one were alarming: the Warriors went 2-for-13 from the field. They followed that up with a 3-for-9 overtime. All in all the Warriors missed 9 of 10 3-pointers in the final 2:30 of the fourth quarter and overtime.

This was also the game when Curry gave up the ball to Durant, amid Green’s noticeable disapproval, on the game’s final possession in regulation. Durant took a tough 3-pointer over Zach Randolph, and Green put on a show on the way to the bench.

–At Miami: Heat 105, Warriors 102 — The Warriors rallied in this one. They were down nine with three-and-a-half minutes left so their offense wasn’t the problem when the game got right down to it. Nope, what cost the Warriors in this one was Dion Waiters’ two big 3-pointers in the final 91 seconds, including the game-winner.

–At Portland: Warriors 113, Blazers 111 — The Warriors weren’t perfect down the stretch in this one offensively but they certainly weren’t bad. The Warriors scored 15 minutes in the final two minutes; they made their free throws (7-of-8). Only blemishes were a bad foul on a 3-point shooter and a questionable offensive foul call on Durant, trying to get open on an inbounds play. In the end, the Warriors survived a wide-open, missed 3-pointer by Evan Turner.

–At Sacramento: Kings 109, Warriors 106 (OT) — This one wasn’t pretty. The Warriors scored just eight points in the final 6:17 or regulation, which occurred because they went 3-for-10 from the floor, including 1-for-4 from 3-point range, and committed two turnovers.

Overtime wasn’t much better with the Warriors going 2-for-7 from the field, including 1-for-4 from 3-point range, with two turnovers.

 

 

 

 

 

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About Steinmetz

Matt Steinmetz is a veteran San Francisco Bay Area sports journalist. He covered the Golden State Warriors for Bay Area News Group for more than a decade before becoming a television analyst with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Steinmetz currently co-hosts the "Warriors WrapUp" show and "NBA This Week" on 95.7-FM The Game, the franchise's flagship station, in San Francisco. He also co-hosts the Sal and Steiny podcast.
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