Is the Warriors’ back-to-back loss to the Pelicans the new norm?

Is this the new normal Dubs plan with a careful back-to-back plan? appeared first on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Warriors last night gave their traveling fan base, and even the road crowd, a night to remember in their 127-120 win over the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center. Hell, even the Houston bench couldn’t help but enjoy the show.

Klay Thompson scored 41 points and made 10 3-pointers. Steph Curry dropped 33 points in one of the best overall games anyone can have, adding 15 assists, six rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Andrew Wiggins added 22 points and Draymond Green did what he does, dishing out eight assists and grabbing six rebounds. The next night, they all wore street clothes in a 45 point loss.

None of Curry, Thompson, Wiggins or Green played Monday night against the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center. The result was a 128-83 loss, the Warriors’ largest margin of defeat this season and the first time they failed to score at least 100 points.

Golden State’s latest blowout loss begs the question: Is back-to-back the Warriors’ new normal? Their cautious, intuitive approach isn’t doing them any short-term favors.

“This is one of those things, last year Draymond missed half the year with a back injury,” Kerr told reporters 90 minutes before tipoff. “You get into a situation where you start chasing your tail a bit and you don’t listen to the performance team and suddenly all the guys are out for a long period of time. We can’t risk that.

“I feel terrible for the fans here, but unfortunately that’s how the schedule is laid out. It’s too bad.”

Through their first 18 games, the 8-10 Warriors are now on a four-game losing streak. They are 2-6 in those eight games and have won just once on the second night of a back-to-back. That lone win came a week ago against the San Antonio Spurs, but it was at home and featured Curry, Green and Wiggins.

The one missing piece was Thompson, who sat out the second night of back-to-backs four times this season. He continues to say that he would like to play back-to-backs at some point this season, but he has faith in the coaching staff. Chances are the plan isn’t changing in the near future.

Playing it safe with Thompson is a plan and understandable. The same goes for Green, whose career has revolved around his body battling the odds. Curry and Wiggins are the strangest additions to this cautious approach.

In Curry’s case, he is the oldest of the group and will turn 35 in March. He has an injury history, missing the final two weeks of the regular season last March and then suffering the same ankle injury in the NBA Finals. His injury designation this season was related to right elbow pain, and not just from the many points he scores every night.

Curry has wrapped his right elbow on the bench during games. The issue was not addressed and clearly not bad enough to slow him down. What about Wiggins?

He is only 27 years old. Wiggins isn’t exactly a vet like Steph, Klay or Draymond. In the two games he has missed, both on the road against the Pelicans, Wiggins has been out with a sore left foot. Both games also had a second night of back-to-backs.

Kerr isn’t worried about the number of players on the injury report early on. He also didn’t discount the difference between the Warriors and other teams.

“No, no,” Kerr said when asked if he’s worried at all. “We have been doing this for a long time and our players work really, really hard to stay ready and we hope to play through June, which we have done six times in the last eight years. also play tons of national TV We fly more than any team in the league, year after year We see a lot of teams doing back to back in one city. We don’t do any of that.

“We understand that we have a responsibility in this league with our position, the franchise we have, to try to put on the best show we can every night, but that also includes maintaining the health of the guys long term. this is the best way we can.”

Here’s some good news and bad news about the Warriors’ schedule: They still have 11 games to go. However, eight of their 15 goals have come in their first 36 games. There have been seven goals in the last 46.

With almost every decision they’ve made this year, the Warriors are taking a big, long-term view. They know what players like Curry, Thompson, Green and Wiggins can do for them in the regular season. They also know how much more valuable they are in the playoffs.

Andre Iguodala is not involved in November basketball. The Warriors had their eyes on March, April, May and June when they brought him back for one final season during the season. More experience is on the way, and that’s what the young Warriors got on Monday night.

“Yeah, experience,” Kerr said after the loss when asked about a silver lining. “We have a lot of guys, you go down the list — they need replacements. They need basketball experience. We have a couple of rookies, a couple of second-year guys, a couple of guys who haven’t played. That’s a ton of basketball every game they get. , all practice, it is important.

“What I found early in my playing career is that it takes a few years to get comfortable playing on an NBA floor. Unless you’re LeBron [James] or someone like that, it definitely takes a few years. So we have to be patient and like I said, I have to do a better job of coaching them.”

Rookie Patrick Baldwin Jr. was one of those players. Total Pick Score No. 28 from the NBA draft last June his first points in the NBA, and he made his first 3-pointer.

Baldwin, 20, scored seven points and also had six rebounds and three steals. The loss was only the third game he has played this season. Coming into the night, he had played less than five full minutes in a Warriors uniform.

He ended up playing 15 in New Orleans.

“I think just as young players trying to make it in the league, we had to figure out how to compete,” Baldwin Jr. said. “Even when the odds could be stacked against us. I think we did well at some points tonight.

“I think tonight was just about competition and heart, and I think naturally that’s what I got out of this game.”

Young players like Baldwin got experience in the Big Easy, and that’s what the Warriors’ roster is made of. Jonathan Kuminga, 20, played a game-high 39 minutes and scored 18 points. But it was minus-38 in plus-minus. Moses Moody, 20, played 33 minutes off the bench, had 10 points but three turnovers and was a minus-29. Second-round pick Ryan Rollins, 20, saw 16 minutes of action and finished with three points and three rebounds, but turned the ball over five times and was called for three fouls.

James Wiseman’s experience is coming in the G Series right now. He played his second game with the Santa Cruz Warriors, scoring 15 points in 23 minutes with 11 rebounds. Wiseman also turned the ball over five times and was a minus-7 in plus-minus, the only Santa Cruz player not to have a positive plus-minus.

RELATED: Kerr believes G League will help Wiseman build foundation

Kerr won’t be able to save all of his veteran stars during back-to-backs the rest of the season. Thompson may not play back-to-back nights all the time. Green will certainly get extra rest days as well. There’s also reason to believe there’s a strategy to how Kerr has handled the schedule thus far.

Getting Iguodala back is one piece of the puzzle. So is the development of the young players, give and take with this whole plan. The biggest piece of it is the health of the Warriors Big Three, along with Wiggins and Jordan Poole. Everything else comes second.

Understanding the hero norm is an impossible question. The unpredictability is part of what made this all so special. It feels a little different now, though.

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