Barnett: Warriors Were Bored; I Could See It All Season Long

"They just didn't seem interested," Warriors analyst Jim Barnett said. "They were waiting for April"

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
April 17, 2018 - 9:37 am

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It’s rare for a team to win 58 games and feel like a disappointment, but that’s how dominant Golden State was for the previous three seasons.

Indeed, the Warriors went 7-10 over their final 17 games and lost their regular-season finale at Utah by 40 to finish 58-24 – their worst record since 2014. Steve Kerr publicly criticized his team late in the season, calling the Warriors’ effort “pathetic.”

He was right.

“They just didn’t seem interested or concerned about their status,” NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors analyst Jim Barnett said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “It’s that old adage: Can you really turn it on? Can you really turn it up another notch and play without Stephen Curry here? They did so in December when he missed 11 games. They were 9-2, and Durant really stepped it up – and he does step it up. But Durant hasn’t played defense the last two months in the regular season like he was early. He wasn’t playing defense. He was kind of bored.”

Durant, last year’s Finals MVP, averaged 26.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists this season, but he coasted late in the year. 

“I hate to say it. I really like the young man – and at age 29, he’s still young to me,” Barnett said. “He didn’t go three straight seasons into June and the Finals, but he did last year. It takes a toll on you physically, and it takes a toll on you emotionally and psychologically.”

Durant wasn’t the only one affected.

“I could just see it all season long,” Barnett said. “Eighty-two games, and they’re counting those games and it seems like a long way home. They wanted to get to the playoffs. If you could have told them in December, ‘Hey, guys we don’t have to play the last 42 games. What do you think?’ they’d all vote yes. They were waiting for April. It’s a bad thing to do that, but their record was not indicative of the past three years. But they did win 58 games – and that’s more games in the last four years that any team’s ever done.”

The Warriors, to their credit, do seem more engaged now that the playoffs have arrived. They lead San Antonio 2-0 in their first-round series following a pair of double-digit wins. Durant and Klay Thompson scored 32 and 31 points, respectively, in Game 2 on Monday, combining to shoot 8-of-17 (47.1 percent) from three.

“Right now, they’ve got to learn to play without (Curry), and they’ve come out of their little shell over the last month where they didn’t play well at all,” Barnett said. “They still have a problem turning the ball over, and that’s something they can be better at. But I just felt they had to survive and advance without Stephen Curry. They had to learn to play without him, and they’ve done that so far in these two games.”

Game 3 is Thursday in San Antonio at 9:30 p.m. ET.