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Draymond Green points to a bigger problem with the Warriors’ fouling problem

Draymond Green points to a bigger problem with the Warriors’ fouling problem

The Warriors through seven games are in a different world than where they and everyone else expected them to be. After back-to-back losses to the Charlotte Hornets and Detroit Pistons, two teams thought to be near the bottom of the NBA, the Warriors come into their Tuesday night contest against the Heat in Miami with a 3-4 record.

What is the problem? If only there was one area that needed cleaning.

Players and coaches alike know they have more than one hurdle to clear to fix this early-season mess. The root of it comes down to the basics, a concept learned when rims are lowered and kids run around the court forgetting to dribble. The Warriors can’t stop shooting.

“What we know is fouling is a problem,” Draymond Green told reporters during the Warriors’ shootaround Tuesday at FTX Arena. “Fouling way too much.”

Entering Tuesday night’s game in South Beach, the Warriors are committing 23.3 fouls per game. That’s the fifth most in the league, behind only the Brooklyn Nets (23.4), Orlando Magic (23.4), Sacramento Kings (23.8), New York Knicks (24.0) and Utah Jazz (24.5) behind Golden State.

This is not a new problem for the Warriors. Last season they were called for the fourth most fouls, and were whistled for 21 fouls per game. But this is a different, less experienced team. Their mistakes are also called at inconvenient times. The Warriors allow 28.6 free throws per game, which is second only to the Atlanta Hawks (29.1).

In return, the Warriors take just 22.7 free throws per game, the ninth fewest in basketball.

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But Green sees a bigger problem with the Warriors’ fouling problems. Their hacking not only hurts their defense but also their offense.

“You play against a solid defense every time,” he explained. “In Game 70, it’s hard to play against a solid defense every play. In Game 7? Much harder. There’s no continuity, you’re still figuring out your offense. You can help yourself with that with tempo. But if you’re always fouling, you can’t get the tempo of the game where you want the tempo.

“I know there’s a big area where we can improve on the defensive end, just defending without burying, getting guys to shoot. If they shoot, we can still get out there and push the ball. But when we’re down, we’re facing a solid defense almost every play, and it’s tough.

It’s no secret that the Warriors want to play fast. They want to wreak havoc, not wait for an opposing team to set up their defense. Green is Golden State’s quarterback here, and can be seen clapping for the ball after they make shots to make the Warriors run like a no-nonsense, spread offense in the NFL.

So far, the Warriors are actually second in the NBA in pace. The one team ahead of them is the Los Angeles Lakers with one win. That doesn’t mean the Warriors are capable of pushing the ball down the court. They only have the second most offensive possessions per game right now.

Evidence shows the Warriors produce the ninth fewest fastbreak points per game (12.9). A season ago, they were seventh in the NBA with 13.8 fastbreak points per game. And their offensive rating is a lowly 111.4, 20th overall in the league.

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Bad defense and too much fouling results in bad attacks all too often. Facing a hungry 2-5 Heat team that the Warriors have already beaten once this season will be a big test on the road. The Warriors didn’t go on a three-game losing streak before losing five in a row from February 27th to March 7th.

Although it’s only the eighth game of the season, the Warriors are trying to avoid such a series too early in the season. Getting back to Golden State’s true brand of basketball should get them back in the win column, and it all starts with playing defense without scrambling as often.

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