The Golden State Warriors recent slump hit a new low on Tuesday night as they blew a 24-point lead and melted down in the final minute of their 124-123 defeat to the Sacramento Kings. But despite losing for the eighth time in the last 10 games, head coach Steve Kerr is looking on the bright side.
"We're not in a freefall," Kerr said. "It's the early part of the season and we're losing a bunch of close games and we can see it on tape every game. Fouling and turnovers, I can only say it so many times. Those two things have to improve. When they do, we're gonna be really good."
Both issues were on full display in the loss to the Kings.
Most notable were the turnovers, which gave the Kings a route back into the game down the stretch. After Andrew Wiggins converted a tip-in with 59 seconds remaining, the Warriors had a five-point lead. Their next two possessions were turnovers -- a terrible pass by Steph Curry in the backcourt and a miscommunication between Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Both of them led to buckets by Malik Monk, including the go-ahead runner at the seven-second mark.
By raw numbers, the Warriors are in a tie for 24th in the league at 15.5 turnovers per game. The advanced stats are only slight better, with the Warriors' 15.3% turnover percentage checking in at 23rd in the league. It's certainly possible to have a good team while turning the ball over that much, but it certainly makes it harder.
As for the free throws, the Warriors sent the Kings to the line 42 times. That was the third time that they've allowed an opponent to shoot at least 40 free throws in a game. The rest of the league combined has only allowed 40 free throw attempts four times. The Warriors weren't punished this time around because the Kings shot 27 of 42, but they cannot continue to give away that many free points. For the season, the Warriors rank 28th in the league at 26.5 free throw attempts allowed per game.
Kerr didn't like the word freefall, but regardless of how you to describe the Warriors' situation, it's clear that they're in trouble in a deep Western Conference with numerous young teams looking to ascend. At 8-10 they are clinging to the 10th and final play-in spot, and are already three games out of sixth place and a guaranteed playoff berth as we approach the quarter pole.