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3 ways the Golden State Warriors can avoid elimination, continue dynasty in Game 5

The Golden State Warriors’ near-decade long dynasty will be on the line when they host the Los Angeles Lakers at the Chase Center Wednesday night in San Francisco.

Following two consecutive losses in Southern California, the defending champs find themselves down 3-1 in the Western Conference Semifinals series.

In reality, Steve Kerr’s squad has been outplayed by LeBron James and Co. We can talk about the lack of a whistle for Golden State and the free-throw disparity (plus-52 for the Lakers) all we want. But it’s simple. Los Angeles deserves to be up 3-1. Golden State deserves to be on the brink of elimination and the end of their dynasty.

“Their identity formed through four NBA championship runs in six NBA Finals appearances. Yet, the Golden State Warriors have unraveled with late-game miscues,” Sportsnaut NBA insider Mark Medina after Golden State’s Game 4 loss.

This was evident as the Warriors blew a seven-point lead after three quarters to lose by the score of 104-101 in Los Angeles Monday evening. With Golden State down 102-101, Stephen Curry missed two consecutive three-point attempts — the last of which with 17.1 seconds remaining and from 30-feet out.

We don’t really want to call any Curry shot ill-advised. But it was in the grand scheme of things. There was time remaining on the shot clock. The Warriors only needed a two. Instead, Curry stepped back from 30 and bricked it.

A Curry turnover after a jumped ball with just over a second remaining and Golden State down three pretty much put an end to this one.

It’s these types of mistakes that have cost the Warriors as they head into Game 5 facing elimination in front of their home crowd. Despite this, the Warriors are one team that have proven they can come back from such a bleak situation and make history.

Below, we look at three ways they can avoid elimination Wednesday and send this back to Los Angeles for Game 6.

Related: Takeaways from Los Angeles Lakers Game 4 win over Golden State Warriors

Golden State Warriors must avoid the turnover bug

stephen curry golden state warriors turnover
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When the Warriors are clicking passing the ball, they are legitimately a beauty to watch. However, turnovers have defined this team throughout its dynastic run. At issue here is the fact that Golden State doesn’t have the margin for error it had earlier in the dynasty. Head coach Steve Kerr touched on that following a 19-turnover outing in the Warriors’ blowout Game 3 loss to Los Angeles.

“Those 19 turnovers turned into 27 points, they shot 20 more free throws than we did so put all those numbers together and this was a Laker game, you know, dominating from the foul line and getting out in transition based on us not having good offensive possessions,” Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr after Game 3.

Golden State lost the turnover battle by eight in the two road games against Los Angeles. In turn, the Lakers were plus-20 in points off turnovers. That’s not going to cut it. These Warriors don’t have Kevin Durant to rely on. They no longer have a deep bench to go on a run and handle things.

The good news? Golden State can be unstoppable when it avoids the turnover bug. In its five wins during the playoffs, the Warriors are averaging just 12.4 turnovers per outing. If they can hold on to the ball Wednesday evening in San Francisco, the Warriors should be able to come out on top.

Golden State Warriors must bench Jordan Poole

golden state warriors need to bench jordan poole
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday’s loss to the Lakers could have been a tell. Kerr opted to insert Gary Payton II in the starting five over Poole as the head coach went small for spacing. With things tight in the fourth quarter, Moses Moody saw the court instead of Poole.

For good reason. The enigmatic recently extended guard has been absolutely terrible over the past three games. That span has seen him shoot 5-of-19 from the field while averaging 3.7 points and 2.3 turnovers per outing. Poole was 0-for-4 shooting with zero points and two turnovers in just 10 minutes of action Monday night. It led to some pretty tense locker room moments after the game.

Poole averaged 20.4 points per game during the regular season. He was Golden State’s third-leading scorer behind the Splash Brothers. In a vacuum, the Warriors rely on Poole’s scoring.

But he provides nothing else of substance on the court. The former first-round pick from Michigan is one of the worst defenders on the roster (-1.8 defensive plus-minus during the regular season). His turnovers and sporadic offensive play continue to be a net negative.

Instead, the Warriors need to give Payton II more minutes while continuing to provide Moody with the opportunity to expand his role. Payton II is among the best perimeter defenders in the game. He also shot 7-of-9 in 23 minutes while finishing plus-three Monday night.

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As for Moody, he got play over Poole late in Game 4. He’s also seen an uptick in minutes over the past three games, averaging 6.3 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 47% from the field.

When Golden State wants to match bigger Lakers lineups, the team should also opt to finally give fellow second-year player Jonathan Kuminga more run. He provides much more than Poole on defense.

Kuminga was also solid throughout the final 22 regular-season games, averaging 13.4 points and 4.3 rebounds. His youth could provide a spark Wednesday night. That includes bodying up with a player in Anthony Davis who has dominated Golden State throughout the series.

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Golden State Warriors still have the Splash Brothers

NBA: Boston Celtics at Golden State Warriors
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

As long as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are doing their thing, the Warriors can still beat any team in the Association. They can win three in a row in the playoffs with the Splash Brothers playing at the top of their game.

Unfortunately, we have not seen this from Thompson. After a career-best regular season from the four-time NBA champion, Thompson has struggled. He shot just 8-of-25 from the field, including a 6-of-18 mark in the two road games in Los Angeles.

In the Warriors’ only win thus far in the Western Conference Semifinals back in Game 3, Thompson hit on 8-of-11 from distance while scoring 30 points. He’s proven to be clutch during the Warriors run. They’ll need this and more to extend the series to Game 6 and potentially become one of the 5% of NBA teams to overcome a 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven series.


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