Nov 29, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins (5) blocks a shot attempt by Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Tej Kamaraju: Are The Golden State Warriors Clutch?

Nov 27, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) attempts a free throw during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Warriors 103-99. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In close games, those that go into overtime or are decided by a small margin, the Golden State Warriors find themselves in a sluggish 2-4. Granted, two of those games were against the Oklahoma City Thunder, both resulting in game-winning shots. In order for a team to be great, they must be clutch. The Warriors, however, are without one of their best players and are having some offensive troubles when it comes to crunch time.

With that being said, are they clutch?

In most of these games, the Warriors were leading for much of the game before blowing their lead in the third quarter, setting up some exciting finishes. The reason the Warriors haven’t been scoring down the stretch is because the ball has to be in the hands of Andre Iguodala in order for Stephen Curry to be getting some open looks. Without Curry, Barnes and Thompson, who aren’t skilled passers, are forced to do that.

This usually just results in a 3-point shot hoisted up, or stagnant offense where one player is on the post and tries to make a couple of moves from there. Defense hasn’t been a problem at all. For the Dubs, it’s the ability to score under offensive pressure. As of now, the Warriors are failing to do that, and they lost four games as a result of that. These are 4 games that they should have won.

Trouble for the Warriors really started when Toney Douglas was injured. After that, Stephen Curry suffered a concussion, Jermaine O’Neal injured his leg in more than one place, and  Iguodala suffered a hamstring-related injury. Unfortunately for the Warriors, there’s no timetable for his return and they will be lucky if he sees action before Christmas.

In the Warriors-Trailblazers game, the Dubs were down by just one point entering the fourth, but some poorly executed offense and turnovers led the Blazers to a scorching 32-17 quarter, where they put away the Dubs. The Warriors had the game and Portland’s lengthy winning streak, but the absence of the extra scorer in Iguodala was really felt.

As a result of this offense, the Warriors have extra long scoring droughts which they haven’t been surviving too well. Thompson and Curry are consistently seeing more than 40 minutes of action.

How can the Warriors fix this problem with the absence of one of their must clutch players? Well the solution is indeed more complex than one may think. Both centers, O’Neal and Bogut should receive time together. Rebounding won’t a problem, and this will help Bogut stay out of foul trouble. As for clutch minutes, Bogut can remain in the game, not only for defense, but for offense as well. With the two-man game that they run, either Curry will spring free for an open shot, which he doesn’t usually miss, or Bogut will have space to make a smart pass, or fly right down the lane for a dunk.

O’Neal needs to keep Bogut out of foul trouble, so this combination will give the Warriors that edge. Advantageously, they will also be rocks on the inside making it very difficult to score off of a cut or drive. A bit unorthodox, but without Iguodala, the Warriors need Bogut to not be in foul trouble down the stretch.


Tags: Andrew Bogut Golden State Warriors

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