SAN FRANCISCO – After Golden State Warriors failed to qualify for the postseason for the second consecutive season, the striker Draymond Green admitted the organization was “on its way back” to a title dispute after a disappointing 117-112 defeat Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night in the final game for the eighth seed of the Western Conference.
“We’re not in the playoffs, so we’re far away,” Green said. “Maybe I’ll go to Mexico or something [Saturday], but it’s not a gym. It’s not for the arena. It doesn’t fly for Utah, so we have a way to go because we’re not in the playoffs – so we’re far away. Because to win the championship, you have to be in the playoffs. So we’re obviously far away – a few adjustments here and there and we’re not that far. But at the moment we are far away, because we are not in the playoffs. “
The Warriors, who beat the Grizzlies in the regular season final last Sunday to finish eighth in the West rankings, heading into the playoffs, had two chances to gain a postseason tie. But they lost from Los Angeles lakers 103-100 in the first game and then lost to the Grizzlies on Friday, a total of 41 reversals.
“Obviously it’s a devastating way to get out,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Two consecutive games that were basically a gut blow. We felt like we had control of the game the other night and lost, and then we really didn’t have control over this, but we could have won. We had the last shot in regulation. The ball gave us it just didn’t work out, but we’ve had a lot of great breaks here over the years, and a lot of bad ones over the last few years, especially with injuries. All in all, you have to look at this season as a success and something to build on. “
One of the reasons the Warriors miss the playoffs so much is that star guard Stephen Curry played so well all season, including winning a point title while averaging 32 points per game.
Curry had 39 points in 13 of 28 shots on Friday, but also coughed up seven of the Warriors ’21 lost balls. He did not justify his performance, reiterating Kerr’s sense of pride in what his team had achieved despite the loss.
“This is very unfamiliar territory, obviously with a play-in, this is the end of the season,” Kerr said. “A very tough way to end this with these last two games that have collapsed and we’re giving him everything we had in the tank. I’m proud of every individual in the Oakland uniform tonight, all season. Of the last 15 wins of the year, injuries and all that , what we have done since this year – is quite impressive.
“It’s a very difficult way to go out and we’d love to play on Sunday, but you can’t lose sight of the big picture in terms of where people had us at the start of the season.”
Curry said he has not yet made a decision on whether to compete for the U.S. team during the Tokyo Olympics later this summer. He also made it clear that the abrupt end of the Warriors season will not affect his decision.
“Obviously everything was aimed at extending this season as much as possible,” Curry said. “I’m trying to gather as much information as possible and make the right decision for me at the end of the day. It’s still a quick turnaround no matter how you look at it, given that we grind every day, every other day for the last five months, almost six months.”
The good news for the Warriors is that veteran keeper Klay Thompson he is expected to return at some point early next season as he continues to recover from an Achilles injury. After Thompson missed last season due to an ACL injury, the Warriors are hoping the former All-Star will give them the boost they lacked.
“He’s part of our DNA,” Curry said. “And he’s a huge part of our primary DNA and what it’s about. You saw him tonight. He tweeted and approached from the side. He misses that environment. I know he’ll do everything in his power to get back to 100 percent, knowing what he’s been through the last two years. He has a lot of support around him to help him get there, but whichever version of him comes back is definitely an incentive and we’ll wait patiently for what it looks like. “
Warriors also have to wait to see how the rest of their list will be shaped. Total selection no. 2 James Wiseman is expected to return after a meniscus injury that ends the season, Kelly Oubre Jr. has to decide what he wants to do in free agencies, and Warriors have upcoming decisions on their own choice in the lottery and Minnesota Timberwolves‘a lottery choice that is among the top three protected.
No matter how things turn out, Thompson remains convinced the days are better.
“We’re not done yet,” Thompson wrote in a post on social media after Friday’s game. “I promise you that.”