Free-falling Warriors enter All-Star break with heads high

Jackson: 'Nobody is gonna feel sorry for where we are right now'

Free-falling Warriors enter All-Star break with heads high
February 12, 2013, 11:30 pm
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The Warriors were outscored in the paint 48-38 Tuesday. (AP)

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- The Warriors' first All-Star representative in 15 years recorded his league-leading 33rd double-double of the season, but there was no joy in David Lee's postgame media session.

"I'm frustrated," Lee said flatly after going for 3-for-10 from the field for 12 points and 12 rebounds in the Warriors 116-109 home loss to the Houston Rockets.

The season-high, five-game losing streak left a sour taste in the home locker room.

"That's the first time that's happened at Oracle in a while," said Lee. "The mood was pretty down until coach came in and spoke some positive words and put everything in perspective."

There's a good chance the pep talk ran something like this:

"Put on the board 30-22. Do not let anybody fool you into believing that we should be walking around with our heads down, because there are teams in the Western Conference that would do anything to be sitting where we're sitting. We've given ourselves an opportunity to sustain a five-game losing streak because of what we did the first half.

"We will get better and we will not panic."

That was head coach Mark Jackson's postgame message to the media. But he had another message, too, one that was repeated by his players.

"There's no way in the world I will accept this type of defense," said Jackson.

Calling it defense is generous. The Warriors allowed 116 points for the second consecutive night, a number that is two points lower than their average over the current five-game skid.

For a young team that rode the wave of their early success, the current spell of poor play is hexing, and it's taking its toll.

"This is a team that gets after it," said Jackson with emphasis. "This is a team that loves the game of basketball. They think about it all day. They beat themselves on a night like tonight. They care."

The league's eighth youngest team might care too much. They'll need one of their veterans to play a significant role when the team refocuses for the Utah Jazz next Tuesday, one of their veterans who has yet to feel fully comfortable in his new system.

Like Lee, Andrew Bogut connected on just three shots from the field and the Rockets outscored the Warriors 48-38 in the paint.

Jackson said he hoped this was the game that he'd be able to stretch Bogut's minutes, but it was clear to the head coach that it was asking too much. Bogut was fresh and effective in the first quarter, vacuuming up seven quick rebounds. But he looked a step behind as the game wore on. He was the victim of Marcus Morris' emphatic fourth-quarter dunk, and a few plays later he looked slow trying to wrap up Omer Asik on what became an easy three-point play.


Bogut, who compared the team defense to equine excrement while he iced his ankles in the corner of the Warriors locker room, affirmed his health is not a concern. Sticking with the horse analogies, he said he expects to take the reins off after the All-Star break.

The plan has been for the big man to begin playing the second night of back-to-backs after the break, and the 7-foot Australian seemed determined to stick to it. He also said he's going to try to be more of a vocal leader.

"It's hard because I haven't been a part of so many games," Bogut said. "Defensively, definitely I take it personally because I'm part of our defense and a part of the team. I need to do a better job in that area."

But that's something everyone can agree on.

"The number of points we gave up the last five games is ridiculous," said Stephen Curry, who evened James Harden's game-high 27 in the loss.

It's ridiculous, but it's a fitting lead-in to the break. The exhibition game that is known for its lack of stout defense saw the West beat the East 152-149 last year.

"Perfect time for the All-Star break," Lee said sincerely before the team disbanded for their seven-day layoff.

NOTES: Jarrett Jack returned from his three-game absence to score 22 points off the bench, his eighth 20-point game of the year. ... Jeremy Lin recorded his seventh double-double of the season in his first game in Oakland as a member of the Rockets. "This was my first time back when I'm not just playing during garbage time," Lin said. It was fun tonight." ... The Warriors lost their final game before the All-Star break for the first time in the past 10 seasons, but for the first time in the past 15 seasons, they have an All-Star representative. ... Golden State's five-game losing streak is a season high. They hadn't lost four games in a row prior to this skid. ... Warriors sold out their 14th consecutive home game, the longest sellout streak since the Oracle Arena renovation increased the capacity to over 19,000.