I watched the Golden State meltdown Monday night — the Warriors blew a 104-88 lead over San Antonio with 4:31 and lost in double overtime — and immediately thought of the Thunder’s meltdown against Dallas in Game 4 of the 2011 Western Conference semifinals.
In 2011, the Mavericks trailed 99-84 with five minutes left in Game 4 but rallied to win in overtime. The Thunder did not use great clock management, if you remember. Watching the game, I figured the same thing had happened to Golden State. But actually, no. The Warriors just quit playing — quit scoring, quit getting stops. It wasn’t a case of poor clock management.
Here’s my general theory. If you lead by, say, 15 points with three minutes left, committing shot-clock violations on five straight possessions is not a bad ploy. That means at least two minutes of game time have been consumed. If you shoot right at the end of the 24 seconds, it will take up a little longer time. That means the opposition would have to make a 3-pointer, in 10 seconds each time, to catch you.
I don’t advocate intentionally getting a shot clock violation. But what I’m saying is, run clock. Run clock on offense and run clock on defense. The Thunder two years ago committed a couple of backcourt fouls, which helped extend the game for Dallas.
That didn’t happen to the Warriors. They actually milked the clock rather well. They quit running much offense, so that’s a problem that might not be mutually exclusive to the time management. But they did not extend the game. However, on defense, the Warriors totally slacked and let San Antonio score too easily.
From that 4:31 mark to the 1:00 mark, by which time the Spurs had pulled within 104-101 and essentially made it anybody’s ballgame, the Warriors got the ball eight times. And failed to score.
They took 15 seconds before Draymond Green missed a reverse layup; 16 seconds before Jarret Jack missed a jumper; 17 seconds before Stephen Curry was called for charging; 17 seconds before Jack committed a turnover; 24 seconds before Jack missed a jumper that was rebounded by Green, who then missed a putback; three seconds before Richard Jefferson was fouled and missed two both foul shots; 19 seconds before Curry missed a 3-pointer; and 18 seconds before Carl Landry missed a jumper.
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