OAKLAND – With his team up 12 points midway through the third quarter of Saturday’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers, Kevin Durant received a pass from Kevon Looney, marking the start of a fastbreak, and immediately threw a cross-court pass over Draymond Green’s head, resulting in his second turnover.
The play characterized Golden State’s offensive output Saturday evening. Despite overwhelming the Clippers in a 121-104 Game 1 win, the Warriors showed, even while dominating, the focus must be on the little things.
“We weren’t focused,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said following the team’s film session Sunday. “Kevin had one where he threw it up in the air in the backcourt. There’s no reason for the decision making.”
In a game Golden State otherwise dominated, the Warriors gave the ball away 21 times, in play characterized by lazy passes and questionable decisions. Throughout Golden State’s five-year run, the Warriors have toyed the line between brilliance and recklessness, sometimes opting to make the spectacular play when the simple option is just as effective. On Saturday, Green was the main culprit, committing six turnovers in 35 minutes, offsetting his 17 points and seven assists.
“I think, all in all, we played really hard, which was great,” Kerr said following Saturday’s game. “We didn’t play that well or that smart.”
Perhaps the play that defined Kerr’s ire came with 7:45 left in the third quarter when Green, leading the fast break, threw an errant, off-balance pass over DeMarcus Cousins’ head, right into the hands of Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari, leading to an LA fastbreak.
“I had mentioned Draymond had three or four. He’s coming down, on the run, getting caught in the air, throwing left handed passes,” Kerr said Sunday. “The quality of the pass is so important.”
Green wasn’t alone in his misfires. Cousins, in his first postseason start, had six turnovers, while Durant and Steph Curry combined for seven.
Even during their historic run, the Warriors have not been immune to turnovers. Two years ago, even while going 16-1 in the postseason, they average 13.6 turnovers, fifth worst in the league. The year before, after winning a league record 73 games, they were among the bottom five in turnovers, averaging 14.4 per game.
On Sunday, after watching the final holes of Tiger Woods’ win at the Masters, the Warriors held a brief film session, with one of the chief goals heading into Game 2 clear: Take care of the ball.
“You’ve got to be on target,” Kerr said. “You’ve got to be sure of yourself and we got away with it last night, but we’ve got to do a much better job with our decision making.”