Jan. 4 (UPI) — The Golden State Warriors admittedly do not look like the same team that’s been to four straight Finals and won the previous two championships.
The latest example came Thursday in yet another home loss. This one came against James Harden and the Houston Rockets, when a remarkable Harden 3-pointer with one second left in overtime buried the Warriors and their 20-point lead.
The Warriors, who remain near the top of the Western Conference, understand that they are a marked target. And that they cannot coast to wins.
“You have a lead like that, you don’t lose at home,” Warriors guard Steph Curry told reporters. “Slow rotations or just a little laziness with that lead. But you have a lead like that, it’s a tough way to go out.”
The Warriors were once unbeatable at the Oracle. Now, they often can’t seem to get out of their own way. Recent examples include a blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day and another one-point setback vs. the Portland Trail Blazers on a last-second shot by Damian Lillard.
Some of it, again, may be the fact the Warriors have become everyone else’s championship game. But a lot of it may have to do with the Warriors letting up a bit when building big leads.
Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson, for one, thinks the latter may have been the case vs. the Rockets.
“I don’t think we played with that killer instinct in that second half,” Thompson said. “I think we relaxed being up.”
Another cold, hard truth: Since starting the season 11-2, the Warriors have been a very average 14-12.
What’s the problem?
“I’m not sure, but we’ll stay the course and get back to doing what we do,” Thompson said. “It’s a different year than it has in the past. Although we are not blowing teams out, we are still 11 games above .500 with a chance to go on a run here before All-Star break. It’s not the end of the world.”
This article originally appeared on AmicoHoops.net.