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What were the micro and macro issues for the Warriors in an ugly home loss to the Pacers? – The Athletic

Let’s begin with the second-to-last possession of regulation, when a coaching decision and a player mistake sent the Warriors into overtime Thursday against a skeleton Pacers crew, eventually ending in a 121-117 loss, their worst of the season, given the context.

The Warriors were leading by three with 9.4 seconds left after Indiana had called a timeout, where a defensive strategy could be formed. Should Steve Kerr replace Steph Curry with Gary Payton II? Would he instruct his players to foul — a common tactic in the analytics age, turning it into a free-throw game instead of giving the opponent a game-tying look from 3?

“I’m normally a fouler and I take the hit on that one,” Kerr said. “This was my night to stink it up.”

Is it possible Kerr was covering for the players failing to execute his usual strategy? No. Kevon Looney said they were told to play solid, don’t foul. But even without the strategy, it’s uncommon for a team to give up a wiiiide open look for a capable 3-point shooter in such a situation. But the Pacers walked into as pristine a catch-and-shoot opportunity as you could imagine for Justin Holiday, a 37 percent 3-point shooter, who nailed it to tie the score.

How did that happen? A defensive breakdown by Curry. He was guarding Holiday, the inbounder, who tossed a short pass to his left, 40 feet from the hoop, where it was briefly bobbled. That brief loose ball created some eye candy for Curry, who turned his head to the right while Holiday cut quickly to his left, giving him a window for the tie.

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