When the N.B.A. season was young, the Warriors looked awful on defense. Through their first six games, opponents were averaging 110 points a game while shooting 44.6 percent. Golden State’s effort at that end of the floor was cause for concern if not alarm.
“Yeah,” Kerr said before Thursday’s game, “it was ugly there for a while.”
But only for a while. It may come as a surprise to those who are justifiably obsessed with the Warriors’ scoring pyrotechnics, but they spend only half of each game on offense. The rest of the time they dabble in the more prosaic business of playing defense — and they do it well, even if Thursday’s struggle underscored the importance of Green, who missed the game to return to the Bay Area after the birth of his son.
Entering the game, Golden State ranked third in the league in field-goal percentage defense (42.9 percent) and second in overall defensive rating, a statistic that the website Basketball-Reference.com uses to account for pace of play.