Azubuike: Game 2 Was A "Wake-Up Call" For Warriors

The Warriors suffered the largest collapse in NBA playoff history, but Kelenna Azubuike believes it's one of the best things that could have happened to them

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
April 23, 2019 - 8:37 am

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The Golden State Warriors entered the playoffs a little vulnerable. Their 57 regular-season wins were their fewest in five years, and something just seemed…off.

As they prepare to put the finishing touches on the Clippers in their first-round playoff series, how well are the Warriors playing on a scale of 1 to 10?

“I would say they’re about a seven – and they can still get better,” NBC Bay Area analyst Kelenna Azubuike said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I’ll just say seven because of what happened in Game 2.”

In Game 2, the Warriors squandered a 31-point lead to the Clippers at home. It was the largest collapse in NBA playoff history.

“But I feel like since then, they’ve been much better,” Azubuike said. “They’ve been defending a lot better, with more intensity and focus for most of the game – for more of the game than they did in Game 2. I think one of the biggest reasons has been because of Andre Iguodala. They put Andre Iguodala on Lou Williams, and he has been fighting over screens and he keeps coming. He knows Lou Williams really well.”

Iguodala and Williams were teammates in Philadelphia from 2005 to 2012.

“He knows his extremely well and he’s playing him well and he’s given him a really tough time,” Azubuike said. “So Lou hasn’t been able to get into a nice rhythm at all. And you got Draymond on the defensive end. He’s been great in this series. KD figured out he can move without the ball and he’s been scoring really well – so they’re playing well.”

Azubuike said Game 2 was a “wake-up call” for the Warriors, who are pursuing their fourth NBA title in five seasons.

“I actually feel like that was maybe one of the best things that could have happened to the Warriors,” Azubuike said. “They realized, ‘If we don’t focus and come out and play the way we’re supposed to, anything can happen.’”

But why would a veteran team need a wake-up call?

“Because that’s how they are,” Azubuike said. “They’re human beings and obviously they’re super talented and they’re trying to fight human nature. Human nature says you’re up 30, you can chill out for a little bit. Just kind of sleepwalk to the finish line, you can kind of go through the motions. That’s kind of what happened, and this Clippers team is the wrong team to do that against. They’re a tough, gritty team. A lot of things have to go bad for the Warriors to lose a game, and they all did midway through that third quarter in Game 2. That hasn’t happened in these last two games since then.”

Click below to listen to Azubuike’s interview in its entirety.