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3 takeaways from concerning Warriors loss in Miami



© Jasen Vinlove | 2022 Nov 1

The Warriors entered at 3-4. The Heat had lost five of their first seven games. 

Both teams still shouldn’t, and aren’t worried about their respective disappointing starts. Just ask Miami star Jimmy Butler. 

“We’re still going to win the championship, and I don’t care what nobody says,” Butler told Sam Amick of The Athletic Monday. “Count us out. We’re going to win the fucking championship. I’m telling you. I don’t give a damn that we started 2-5.”

The defending champion Warriors have reason to think the same way. But Tuesday won’t help their confidence.

Golden State got 23 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists from Stephen Curry — his 10th career triple double. The Warriors also got strong performances from Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins. They held Jimmy Butler to 6-for-17 shooting from the field and Tyler Hero to two points. 

They still lost.

The Warriors’ 116-109 defeat keeps Golden State (3-5) winless away from the Chase Center this season. They’ve lost three straight on this current road trip. Despite improved effort, GSW committed 20 turnovers and struggled to quell Miami runs at multiple points.

Here are three takeaways from Golden State’s latest loss.

The defense still isn’t close to where it needs to be 

The Warriors allowed 97 points to the Heat before allowing a single fast break bucket.

That’s got to be some sort of record. 

Despite improving the transition defense — albeit against a Miami group not known for playing fast — the Warriors still couldn’t get stops. They fouled too frequently, lost too many shooters too often, and didn’t present enough of a force inside to deter Miami slashers. 

Golden State let Duncan Robinson get loose for five 3s and Max Strus space for four. 

Miami hit all 20 of its free throws, two of which came from unnecessary technical fouls.

Bam Adebayo controlled the point, leading Miami to score 42 points inside compared to the Warriors’ 32. 

The Warriors came into the game with the 24th-ranked defensive rating. Last year, they had the second best defense in the NBA, behind only Boston. 

Now they’ve allowed at least 110 points in seven of their first eight games. 

Draymond Green connecting 

Early in the game, trying to set the one, Green pushed in transition after a defensive rebound. He saw Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins running the same lane — far from a beacon of proper transition spacing. It didn’t matter to Green, who lofted a pass toward the rim. 

Before Curry had even turned his head, the ball was there, dropped perfectly in a bucket. 

Green’s passing acumen flashed in the half-court too. 

On a short roll, the forward caught a bounce pass with both feet in the paint, his chest facing the right corner. Without turning, he flipped behind his back to a wide open Andrew Wiggins in the left corner. 

Although Wiggins missed a 3, both that pass and the Curry assist showed how much court awareness and feel for the game Green has amassed over his 11-year career. 

Another fancy dribble led to Green finding Kevon Looney inside for free throws. And, of course, he was a main component of a signature Warriors possession. 

Much of the Heat’s 20-3 first-quarter run came with Green on the bench. His frontcourt replacements, James Wiseman and JaMychal Green, missed a dunk and layup respectively. Without Green, Golden State’s defense bled open looks and fouled at an unsustainable clip. 

It’s also no surprise that in the second half, some of James Wiseman’s best minutes of the season came when playing next to Green (and Curry). 

Green’s defense — when he’s locked in — would be elite anywhere. It’s the connectivity on offense that makes him so valuable to the Warriors in particular, and that is so difficult to replicate when he sits.

Wiggins bounceback 

Andrew Wiggins entered Tuesday coming off consecutive 10-point games. He’d shot 8-for-28 (28.6%) in those contests.

Before halftime in Miami, Wiggins already eclipsed that 10-point threshold.

Wiggins drilled four of his first six shots. His third 3 of the night — off the catch from the left wing — gave him 12 points in 14 minutes. 

The 2021-22 All-Star was decisive with his outside shot. He and his teammates sought mismatches for him underneath. 

Wiggins’ fourth triple came in transition off a Curry dish in which the guard spun the ball behind his back before flicking it into Wiggins’ shooter’s pocket. 

Wiggins hit seven of his first nine shots and finished with 21 points. A game after Curry and Jordan Poole combined for 62 points in a loss, Wiggins stepped up. It wasn’t enough.