Why the Warriors Lost this Year

Why the Warriors Lost this Year


The Los Angeles Clippers recently signed former Warriors player Marreese Speights to a one-year veteran’s minimum. Los Angeles Times writer Ben Bolch is justly overjoyed about the deal.

What is the veteran’s minimum?  The stars make the gazillions. But guys who play better than the stars on some nights get zilch? I think that the Warriors would have won the NBA championship this year if Speights had been given a larger role in game three of the Warriors’ series against Houston. 

Speights was hot that game: “Thanks to Marreese Speights (22 points on 7-of-11 shooting), the Warriors found the next Splash Brother up to support the offense,” Judy Stearns wrote on www.goldenstateofmind.com. 

However, in the fourth quarter, Speights didn’t get in the game.  Either that, or, if he did get in the game, nobody threw him the ball.  I can’t remember which, at this late date. I had the exact game stats when I calculated these points per minutes played in that game.  

  • Maureese Speights, 1.22 points; 
  • Klay Thompson, 0.44 points; and 
  • Dramon Green, 0.22 points.

So what? What difference did that one game make? The Warriors took the series from the Houston Rockets anyway, didn’t they? Well, here you have to make several leaps of faith. They say hindsight is 20/20.  Here, perhaps it has to be about 40/20. 60/20?

Steph Curry did not play in that third Rocket game (the game we’re discussing) because he was already injured. Still, I believe that if Speights had remained more active in the Warriors’ offense in the fourth quarter of that third Rocket game, the Warriors would have won the game. And if the Warriors had won that game, Coach Steve Kerr probably would have kept Curry out of the next (fourth) Rocket game just as a precaution. 

But the Rocket series was now tightening up, so Curry was started.  In that game Curry slipped (not caused by the previous injury), resulting in an injury more serious than the first (and potentially much more serious) injury. To me Curry seemed about 25 percent or more diminished for the rest of the NBA playoffs.

Against Houston, against Portland, against Oklahoma City, and against Cleveland. And that’s why the Warriors lost the NBA championship.

What prevented the Golden State Warriors from winning the 2016 NBA championship? Curry’s injury, caused in part from insufficiently using Speights in the fourth quarter of the third game against the Houston Rockets. 



John A. Judge is an Alameda resident.