Seven games into the 2022-23 season, it’s too early for the Warriors to sound alarms.
It’s not too early for them to wonder how long they will keep hitting the snooze button while waiting for the arrival of their defensive teeth and their offensive rhythm.
With a 128-114 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Sunday at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, the Warriors opened their five-game road trip with back-to-back losses that have them reeling. The last time they opened the season 3-4, they landed in the lottery.
Stephen Curry scored 32 points and Jordan Poole poured in 30, but they didn’t get much help on that end. Andrew Wiggins managed only 10 points for the second consecutive game, shooting 4-of-15 from the field.
Here are three observations from a loss that has the Warriors searching for answers two weeks into the season:
Defense still in transit
There is reason to believe the Warriors will, at some point, play the kind of defense that resembles, if not replicates, that which has been their standard for the better part of a decade.
The wait continues.
The Pistons were averaging 109.7 points per game (24th in the NBA) and cleared that by 18. They were shooting 42.5 percent from the field (28th) and finished at 48.2 percent against the Warriors. They were shooting 33.7 percent from deep and torched the Warriors at a rate of 42.4 percent.
The most distressing part of this for the Warriors is that it’s becoming a pattern. Teams are feasting on Golden State’s early lethargy, uncharacteristic assignment errors and turnovers.
Only the Lakers, the NBA’s worst offense by every metric, failed to score at least 60 points in the first half and 110 for the game.
The Warriors often look like, dare we say, the slower squad lacking athleticism. If this doesn’t change, they’ll dig a hole within the highly competitive Western Conference.
Poole party in familiar territory
During Poole’s two seasons at the University of Michigan, some of the students began referring to each of his scoring sprees as a “Poole party.”
Perhaps seeking to relive those moments, Poole arrived at Little Caesars Arena wearing a maize and blue Michigan jacket.
It worked during a critical part of the game.
Poole was the catalyst behind third-quarter outburst that got the Warriors back into the game, trimming a 19-point deficit to six. He scored 18 points, including 15 in a row at one point. He was one point short of his personal record for points in a quarter.
Listed as questionable before the game with a right ankle sprain, Poole played a team-high 36 minutes, shooting 10-of-21 from the field, including 5-of-13 from distance, and also recorded four assists and two steals.
Looney pounds the glass
Kevon Looney is back. Back to being the rebounding monster he was during the playoffs last spring. The rebounder the Warriors need him to be.
Looney, who entered the game averaging 6.0 rebounds per game, pulled nine in only 22 minutes against a muscular, aggressive Detroit frontcourt. He snagged six on the offensive end, single-handedly giving his team second and third chances.
Since grabbing a total of 19 rebounds in the first four games, Looney has been surging. He pulled eight against the Heat last Thursday, nine against the Hornets on Saturday.
After being outrebounded in six of their first seven games, the Warriors surely are hoping Looney’s production on the glass is a trend with staying power that can make a difference as they move forward.