Times Standard (Eureka)

Green calls out lack of effort on defense

Warriors have lost 3 of 4 entering A-S break

- By Madeline Kenney

LOS ANGELES >> Draymond Green isn’t one for excuses, especially at this point in the season.

That’s why he was quick to squash the suggestion that the Warriors’ underperfo­rmance at this stage of the season was the result of a proverbial championsh­ip hangover. Instead, he identified the team’s lack of effort on defense as being a major culprit in the team’s shortcomin­gs.

“You’re not hungover at .500, 60 games into the season,” Green said Tuesday after the Warriors’ 134-124 loss to the Clippers dropped them to 29-29 this season. “You’re a loser if you’re still hungover at that point. So there’s no hangover. It’s the will to defend, to stop and guard your man, and sink and help and trap the box and rotate. Defense is always one or two steps extra. I’m gonna take that extra step to get there or not. And that’s all will. And we don’t have that as a team.”

The Warriors lost three of their last four games heading into the All-Star break. Their latest defeat was an appropriat­e way to end the first chunk of this rollercoas­ter season in the team’s eyes and gave the Warriors plenty to think about over the next eight days.

This championsh­ip era of the Warriors has long been defined by tenacious defense powering highscorin­g offense. But it’s been a different story this season.

“Our defense isn’t very good,” Green said. “It’s kind of been the story all year and you got to do something to fix it.”

The Warriors’ 114.1 defensive rating is the 11th-worst in the league and the worst the team has posted since Green was drafted.

Golden State has struggled with dribble penetratio­n and locking up ball handlers at the point of attack. The Warriors have fallen into the trap of fouling, which has led to them having the largest free-throw discrepanc­y in the league.

For Green, diagnosing the problem is fairly simple.

“Defense is all about a will, a want to defend. Defense isn’t fun, you just got to want to do it if you want to win and we haven’t,” Green said.

Green said he’s optimistic the team can do it. With 24 games remaining after the All-Star break, though, the Warriors don’t have time to wait much longer to figure it out.

“It’s now or never,” Green said.

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