Kurtenbach: Forget the Grizzlies, the scuffling Warriors have one rival — themselves

Draymond Green said after the Warriors’ 131-110 blowout loss to the Grizzlies Thursday that he doesn’t view Memphis as a rival.

He’s right.

The Warriors have only one rival: this team’s collective antipathy to playing defense anywhere but San Francisco.

Golden State entered this week thinking they had turned the corner after a five-game home winning streak. I even bought into the hype.

After all, there was overt chemistry on offense and, more importantly, the Warriors were showing effort and connection on defense.

Then the Dubs went on the road. Three games, three losses, and 381 points scored against. It all fell apart in spectacular fashion, and there’s no good reason why that’s the case.

Golden State’s inability to play any semblance of D on the road has been perplexing all season, but it’s downright inexplicable now that we’ve seen this team play good defense at home.

Defense is supposed to travel in the NBA, but the Warriors’ defense is on the no-fly list.

No matter where the Warriors might be are in these great United States (or Canada) — the moment they leave California’s 11th congressional district, they no longer can communicate, rotate, or anticipate.

This isn’t just a small quirk. The difference between the Warriors’ defense at home and on the road is chasmic.

The Warriors have the third-best home defensive rating in the NBA: 108.1. On the road, they have the third-worst defensive rating on the road: 119.3.

An 11-point delta per 100 possessions is beyond the pale. It’s why the Warriors — who have only lost seven games all season at home — have seven wins on the road.

It’s the reason this team is fighting for any postseason berth instead of home-court advantage in the playoffs.

If the Warriors had 10 road wins this season — a lofty

It’s indecorous of a defending champion. It’s so ridiculous it deserves ridiculous explanations. Here are a few I have concocted:

• Joe Lacob, riddled by luxury tax, opted not to buy the roaming plan for his defense this season

• The Dubs have a form of low-grade Havana Syndrome — but it only shows up when they leave San Francisco. Call it Castro Syndrome. Maybe this is why Green said “I have a hard time getting out of my bed in March” on Thursday.

• Can we be sure this isn’t an elaborate, cruel practical joke on Steve Kerr?

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The Warriors have games with the Bucks and Suns looming on Saturday and Monday (albeit perhaps sans Giannis Antetokounmpo and certainly sans Kevin Durant). The way the Warriors have played all season, I’d expect the Dubs to bring their true A-game for those contests. They might just even win them.

But it doesn’t matter. Those games will be at home.

You can only win a title by winning games on the road. The Warriors know — they have won a road game in 27 straight playoff series, an NBA record.

And this team can’t win on the road. It’s to the point where if Golden State even makes the playoffs, they’ll be playing the majority of their games on the road.

The Warriors have eight road games remaining. Is that enough time to undo the 33 road games that proceeded it? No.

Still, it’s never too late for a that turnaround — or for Lacob to add that roaming plan.

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