OAKLAND – When the Warriors beat themselves up in public they tend to do so in perfect harmony, everyone deflecting shooting critiques to cite poor defense and how important good defense is to creating offense.
More often than not, they're on target. But that excuse missed the mark in the wake of Game 3 of their playoff series against the Clippers.
Of the three factors behind that Warriors' loss, two relate directly to offense.
There was the DeAndre Jordan Effect, which stripped the Warriors of offensive gumption in the paint. And there was their inability to make the open shots created when the Clippers threw their defense at Stephen Curry.
The DJ Effect diminished the Warriors on the inside, but the Warriors themselves are to blame for their failures from midrange and beyond.
"I thought I got good looks," shooting guard Klay Thompson said.
"We got some good looks," coach Mark Jackson said.
They got good looks, particularly from behind the 3-point arc. Thompson got them. Andre Iguodala got them. Harrison Barnes got them. Draymond Green got them. Those four players, however, combined for 3-for-21 shooting from deep.
"Those shots I missed, I'll take all day," Thompson said. "I missed about three wide-open ones, a couple of corner threes I don't usually miss.
"Those are shots that I'll take next game."
Those are shots Thompson has to take, because he generally makes open 3-pointers. But neither Thompson nor any of his teammates punished the Clippers for locking up Curry in all but one quarter of the last two games.
The Warriors were 6 of 31 on threes in Game 3, after going 4 for 19 from deep in Game 2. That's 20 percent, which emboldens the Clippers awhile inviting defeat for the Warriors.
Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers sighed with relief at all the misses, but he also noticed.
"I wasn't pleased with the way we defended (Thursday night)," Rivers told 95.7 The Game. "I thought they missed shots."
They missed outside shots for the second consecutive game, and not because the Clippers are playing phenomenal defense. It's poor offense, inside and outside.
Jordan's presence made a highly visible impact. He has blocked 15 shots, five in every game. He has altered at least that many more and discouraged another dozen or two. Lee suddenly lost his touch. Barnes in Game 3 took up the challenge, soaring in for a dunk that Jordan pinned to his palm. What Jermaine O'Neal could have done five years ago can't be done today.
With some ingenuity and footwork and a few pump fakes, maybe the Jordan becomes less of a factor.
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But for the Warriors to have a chance of climbing back into this series, the outside offense has to come back. If open looks lead to buckets, the Clippers then must make a decision about defending Curry.
It's the offense that is failing right now, no matter what anybody says. And Lee, who had the toughest defensive assignment of the night in Blake Griffin, attempted to spin it back to the familiar old song.
"Once again, we focusing too much on offense," Lee said during his Thursday media session. "Defensively is where we need to be better."
I'll give him a maybe, a certainly if he's referring to defending Griffin. But on the whole, the defense has been solid.
Know this: If Curry's final-seconds shot had fallen and the Warriors won Game 3, they would have praised the defense for keeping them in the game, for holding L.A. below 100 points.