After pretty much single-handedly keeping the Warriors in the game with an explosive 19-point third quarter in which he eviscerated the Pelicans’ turnstile of defenders they sent his way, Durant was ready to get his team a win.
But on two key possessions in the final 1:30 of Saturday’s 126-120 loss to New Orleans, Durant turned the ball over — a problem that plagued the Warriors late, and one that’s given head coach Steve Kerr plenty of gray hair over the past few years — and suddenly the game slipped away.
It seemed almost inevitable that Durant would end up winning the game for the Warriors in the fourth.
That mentality is only natural, but the game’s final minutes still revealed a problem that the Warriors could run into in the postseason, particularly if Curry is out for an extended time.
Yes, New Orleans played well and shot brilliantly, but nobody is supposed to be able to outscore the Warriors — particularly at home.
The ball was in Durant’s hands for basically every single possession during that pivotal stretch and on the two biggest plays of the game he coughed up turnovers.
With Curry likely out for at least the start of the team’s first-round playoff series, Kerr admits that this is what the Warriors’ offense is going to look like more often than not.
By “do what we have to do to win the game,” Kerr means that they’re not afraid to let Durant shoot on pretty much every possession.
The Pelicans were able to throw several different looks at Durant, guarding him with everyone from Solomon Hill to Holiday to Davis to Mirotic, which allowed them to have a fresh defender on KD at all times down the stretch.
Not having Curry out there during crunch time eliminates any margin for error for the Warriors in the game’s final possessions.