As much as the Warriors missed Stephen Curry in Portland, they missed his fellow ailing teammates even more.
With Curry and four other rotation players out of the lineup, the fabled depth so often cited by coach Steve Kerr has been reduced to scraps and splinters and it was woefully inadequate Friday night in a 125-107 loss to the Trail Blazers.
Though Curry surely would have helped with their late-quarter scoring, the Warriors lost this game mostly on defense and rebounding, particularly against Portland’s second unit.
With reserves Andre Iguodala, David West, Jordan Bell and Pat McCaw joining Curry on the sideline, the Warriors lost the bench scoring battle 47-18 and the bench rebounding battle 21-10.
“They outrebounded us and we can’t have that when we’re missing Steph and all the other guys we didn’t have,” Klay Thompson told reporters in Portland.
Any one of the four missing reserves might have helped. All of them most certainly would have helped -- even if Warriors coach Steve Kerr waved off the production discrepancy between the two benches.
“I don’t look at that at all,” he said. “You could look at box score and say this happened or that happened. But their bench scored and our bench didn’t. That happens sometimes. Sometimes it’s in reverse. We’ve got four guys sitting out, so...”
Though Nick Young was fairly atrocious, at both ends, actually, it wasn’t so much the scoring of the reserves that made such a difference. It was the multiple opportunities to score that proved so profoundly decisive for Portland, which scored 26 second-chance points to 8 for the Warriors.
Blazers big man Ed Davis played 26 minutes off the bench, scoring 10 points and grabbing 15 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass.
The Warriors, as a team, had six offensive rebounds.
“It was huge, especially in the first half,” Draymond Green said. “We didn’t rebound well at all. We rebounded better in the second half until late. When you give a team like that second and third shots, they’ve got great shooters. They’ll make them eventually. You want to give them one shot and out. We didn’t do that.”
West wasn’t there to match up with the physical presence of Davis. Bell wasn’t there to provide energy, particularly on defense. Iguodala wasn’t there to be his usual disruptive self on defense or loosen an offense that sometimes stagnated.
The Warriors managed only 20 assists, more than 10 below their average of 30.5 per game.
“We are missing ‘Dre and D-West, guys we throw the ball to a lot to initiate our offense,” Durant said.
“We could have done a lot of things better. Obviously, we had some good looks. We didn’t rebound . . . we didn’t finish the quarters well. It was just all that happens in a basketball game, all that happens in a season with the ups and downs.”
A lot went wrong for the Warriors, and still they were up six with less than nine minutes to play. After taking an 83-77 lead with 2:17 left in the third quarter, they were outscored 48-25.
The legs they might have had to keep the Blazers off the offensive glass never were there, and what little the Warriors had left in the fourth quarter was not enough.
Having Curry would have been nice, to be sure, but this is a game the Warriors likely would have won without him, if they had Iguodala, West and Bell.
Though Curry won’t be back until next week at the soonest, one or both of the veterans could be available Sunday in Minnesota, where the Warriors face the Timberwolves.
Any and all reinforcements are welcome, and almost certain to make a difference.