NBA

'Our defense has been bad' – Kerr hits out at Warriors

By Sports Desk February 15, 2022

Steve Kerr claimed the Golden State Warriors defense has been "bad for six or seven games" after his team lost 119-104 to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Warriors are 42-16 for the season with a 72.4 win percentage, but they have now lost three of their last four games, having gone on a nine-game winning streak prior to that.

Kerr questioned his team's defensive work before Monday's loss, yet that did not help the Warriors against the Clippers, who scored 54 points from in the paint.

After the defeat, Kerr did not hold back in his criticism.

"I was doing a lot of yelling," Kerr told reporters. "The main thing is that our defense has been bad. It's been bad for six or seven games now. It's hard to win in this league when you're looking like we are, defensively, with so many holes in our games.

"They went right around us. It's been something different every night.

"When you can't count on the connection defensively and the competitiveness and the fire, every night is going to be a little different depending on what talent you're going against."

Despite their recent troubles, the Warriors still have the second-best defensive record in the Western Conference when it comes to points allowed per game, with only the Dallas Mavericks (103.1) allowing fewer than Golden State (103.5).

However, Kerr believes that the statistic is skewed because of the Warriors' strong start to the season.

"I know we are number one in defense," he said, making air quote signs. "But we're not right now. Those numbers are inflated by what we did earlier in the season.

"Over the last seven games, we are probably bottom five, if not dead last in defensive rating.

"It's up to us. We're going to have to find the effort, the communication, connection, to get back to doing the things we were doing before."

Kerr has a point. The Warriors have allowed 113.3 points per game over the last seven games, while so far in February, their opponents are averaging 51.4 points in the paint.

That has seen the Warriors drop from the fourth-best team in the league to fifth defensively in the paint for the season, and over the seven-game span this month they sit in 21st place in that aspect.

Related items

  • NBA: Embiid leads 76ers to 7th seed; White scores career-high 42 in Bulls' rout NBA: Embiid leads 76ers to 7th seed; White scores career-high 42 in Bulls' rout

    Joel Embiid had 23 points, 15 rebounds and six assists and the 76ers beat the visiting Miami Heat 105-104 on Wednesday in an Eastern Conference play-in game.

    With the victory, Philadelphia secured the seventh seed in the East and will face the second-seeded New York Knicks in a first-round series beginning on Saturday.

    The Heat, who made last season’s NBA Finals as a play-in team, will face an elimination game Friday against the Chicago Bulls for the eighth seed and the right to play the NBA-best Boston Celtics.

    Embiid’s availability against Miami was uncertain after the reigning league MVP tweaked his surgically repaired left knee Friday and sat out the regular-season finale two days later.

    He played 38 minutes and stepped up down the stretch with eight points in the final three minutes and dished out a clutch assist.

    With the game tied at 96, Embiid found Kelly Oubre Jr. under the basket with 36 seconds to play, and he was fouled while making a layup for a three-point play to put Philadelphia ahead for good.

    On Miami’s next possession, Nicolas Batum blocked Tyler Herro’s potential game-tying 3-point attempt.

    Batum provided a spark off the bench with 20 points and hit five of his six 3-pointers after halftime to help Philadelphia battle back from a 12-point deficit at the break.

    Tyrese Maxey added 19 points for a 76ers team that made 21 of 23 free throws.

    Both Herro and Jimmy Butler struggled with their shots for the Heat, who led by as much as 14 late in the second quarter.

    Butler injured his right knee in the first quarter and said after the game that he would need an MRI, putting his availability for Friday in question.

    Herro finished with a game-high 25 points but was just 4 of 14 from 3-point range, while Butler had 19 points on 5-of-18 shooting.

     

     

    White erupts for career-high 42 in Bulls’ win

    Coby White scored a career-best 42 points on 15-of-21 shooting and Nikola Vucevic added 24 points and 12 rebounds as the Chicago Bulls rolled to a 131-116 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

    White, who surpassed his previous career high of 37 points, had nine rebounds and six assists as Chicago advanced to a Friday matchup at Miami for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.

    DeMar DeRozan had 22 points and nine assists and Ayo Dosunmu added 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting after missing the final four regular-season games with a bruised right quadricep.

    The Bulls shot 56.8 percent from the field and 42.3 percent (11 for 23) from 3-point range to go with a 47-34 rebounding advantage.

    Dejounte Murray led the Hawks with 30 points and Trae Young and Clint Capela each had 22 as Atlanta’s season came to an end after it closed the regular season with six straight losses.

    The Hawks were within 88-85 but Vucevic’s 3-pointer ignited a 17-2 run to put the Bulls up 105-87 with 1:27 left in the third quarter.

  • Heat forward Butler needs MRI on injured right knee Heat forward Butler needs MRI on injured right knee

    Miami Heat star guard Jimmy Butler says he will need an MRI on his right knee after he was injured in the first half of a play-in tournament loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

    Butler sustained the injury in the first quarter when he tried to fake out Kelly Oubre Jr. on a basket, only to have his knee buckle. He fell to the floor and Oubre appeared to land on top of him.

    “I fell, he landed, and my knee just didn’t do well, I guess,” Butler said. “I don’t know. It’s not a good feeling, I can tell you that.”

    Butler sank the free throw, exhaled, and missed the second one. He stayed in the game and finished with 19 points on 5-of-18 shooting in a 105-104 loss.

    The Heat will host the Chicago Bulls on Friday night, with the winner getting the No. 8 seed and a playoff matchup with the league-leading Boston Celtics.

    “We just need to get one and then we’ll worry about the next one,” Butler said.

    It’s unknown whether Butler will be available to play that game.

    “It felt like I couldn’t do much, which sucks with the timing of the game and everything,” Butler said. “I hope that I’m fine. I hope that I wake up tomorrow and can still stick-and-move. Right now, I can’t say that’s the case.”

    Butler averaged 20.8 points in 60 games this season for the Heat, tied with Tyler Herro for the team lead.

  • Williamson out for Pelicans’ do-or-die play-in tournament game due to hamstring injury Williamson out for Pelicans’ do-or-die play-in tournament game due to hamstring injury

    The New Orleans Pelicans will be without injured leading scorer Zion Williamson when they host the Sacramento Kings in Friday’s Western Conference play-in tournament elimination game.

    Williamson starred in his NBA postseason debut Tuesday, scoring 40 points while adding 11 rebounds and five assists in over 36 minutes of action against the Los Angeles Lakers.

    The two-time All-Star, though, missed the final three minutes of New Orleans’ 110-106 loss after injuring his left hamstring.

    Williamson tied the game at 95 with 3:19 remaining in the fourth quarter on a driving layup, but he left shortly after and headed to the Pelicans’ locker room.

    His huge performance caught the attention of Lakers superstar LeBron James.

    “He's a generational player, a generational talent. He's going to continue to get better and better,” James said. “Tonight was just a small microcosm of how great he can be, his ability to get downhill, finish vs. smalls, finish vs. bigs, taller guys, shorter guys, doesn't matter.

    “One thing about him, he's not afraid to compete. So, that's a great thing. He's a star.”

    Williamson missed plenty of time due to various injuries in his first four seasons after New Orleans selected him No. 1 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, but he was healthy throughout the 2023-24 campaign.

    Williamson appeared in a career-high 70 contests and led the Pelicans with 22.9 points per game while averaging 5.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists.

    The winner of Friday’s matchup between New Orleans and Sacramento will capture the No. 8 seed in the West and move on to play the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.