Warriors

Instant Replay: Warriors' streak ends in Orlando

ezeli_festus_warriors_magic.jpg

Instant Replay: Warriors' streak ends in Orlando

BOX SCORE

Mama said there would be nights like this.

The undefeated road trip of the Golden State Warriors came to a clanking halt on Friday night with a 99-85 loss to the Orlando Magic.

The Warriors, who began their seven-game road trip with five consecutive wins, started sluggish with 14 first-quarter points and finished the night shooting just 37 percent from the field.

“We didn’t expect to go undefeated the rest of the way,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “We’ve had a great run. This team beat us tonight. … But the key is for us not to allow the loss to take us back to where we once were.”

The expectations aren’t lowered; they’re just set to realistic.

As the Warriors continue to mature, road losses and poor shooting nights are destined to occur. Golden State still has plenty areas of growth. Jackson said in his postgame interview that his team was a step slow but he still has plenty of confidence in his group.
 
“We’re not frontrunners,” Jackson said. “We are not going to start pointing fingers and making excuses. Hey we lost, it happens. The teams that are the top teams in this league, they bounce back.”

David Lee shined once again despite the loss, scoring 24 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Lee continued his streak of six consecutive games with at least 20 points or 10 rebounds.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors in scoring with 25 points but tallied just three assists. The tandem of Curry and Lee combined to score 49 of the team’s 83 points.

The Magic, who also delivered the Warriors’ last loss, on Dec. 3 in Oakland, was led by 8-for-11 three-point shooting and 46 points off their bench. J.J. Redick led all Orlando scorers with 16 points off the bench.

Orlando’s bench outscored the Warriors’ bench 49-22.

Road legs

The battery doesn’t always recharge, even after a win against the defending champs. Traveling legs ultimately become weary, especially in the Warriors’ sixth consecutive road game. The tired legs were exposed as the Warriors fell behind early on.

After dropping behind 29-16 early in the second quarter, the Warriors responded with a 15-5 run to close the gap to three points with 5:34 remaining in the half. But Orlando responded with a 17-4 run of its own to end the half up 51-35.

Call it early-game fatigue or just poor shooting, either way the Warriors lost the game when they shot just 28 percent from the field and 12.5 percent (1-for-8) from three-point range in the first half. The Warriors finished the night 7-for-20 from three-point range.

Trend proves true
The Warriors entered the night with a record of 14-1 when they outrebound their opponent. The loss to Orlando was no exception, and Golden State lost the rebounding battle 53-49. 

Social media demands answers
@hippiemd tweeted: “@CSNWarriors How can the Warriors look great for five games but pathetic tonight? #warriorstalk”

The reasonable answer: The Warriors are still a young team, and learning to win on the road is supposed to be the final part of the growth process. Despite sudden results, the team will likely show ups and downs throughout the season.

In other words, it doesn’t always come all at once. Not every game is a measuring stick.

Optimism goes empty tweet of the game
@phiLMLwrote: “big leads are nothing in the #NBA. Pick it up #DUBS. #warriorstalk”

Nonetheless, the #webelong movement continues.

That one hurt
The knees of Festus Ezeli and Orlando's Moe Harkless collided with some emphasis early in the third quarter. Ezeli had played 12 minutes to that point and never returned. He finished with zero points and two rebounds.

Leave us alone, we’re tired
At one point in the third quarter, Jameer Nelson dribbled between two defenders and sliced unguarded through the lane for an open layup. The Magic scored 42 points in the paint and shot 47.7 percent from the field.

Wait a second … oh, nevermind
The Warriors rallied back to single-digits to 63-54 late in the third quarter before Orlando hit three consecutive open three-pointers to push the lead to 72-54.


The Warriors had one last gasp with an 11-3 run in the final moments to pull within 93-83 before Orlando pushed back to the finish.

Follow @jimmypspencer on Twitter for Warriors news and analysis.

Warriors upgrade JaVale McGee before Game 3, will start third straight vs Spurs

Warriors upgrade JaVale McGee before Game 3, will start third straight vs Spurs

SAN ANTONIO -- JaVale McGee will make his third consecutive start for the Warriors Thursday night when they take the floor for Game 3 of their first-round series against the Spurs.

His presence allows the Warriors to keep intact their rotation of centers, which during this series has included Kevon Looney and David West, with Draymond Green moving into that role for scant minutes in each of the first two games.

Zaza Pachulia, who started 57 games in the regular season, has not played in either game. Rookie Jordan Bell has played a total of eight minutes, and Damian Jones a total of five.

McGee had been listed as questionable after sustaining a bruise to his left quadriceps in Game 2 on Monday. He did not practice Wednesday but participated in the morning shootaround ahead of Game 3.

In night full of raw emotions, Warriors need road defense to step up vs Spurs

In night full of raw emotions, Warriors need road defense to step up vs Spurs

SAN ANTONIO -- After shaking off a solid blow from the Spurs early in Game 2 Monday in Oakland, the Warriors expect an even bigger fight when the teams meet for Game 3 Thursday night at AT&T Center.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 5 o’clock, with tipoff scheduled for 6:30.

In sweeping of San Antonio in the Western Conference Finals last May, the Warriors overcame a second-quarter deficit on the road in Game 3. With a 2-0 series lead, they’ll be out to squash any chance of a Spurs comeback in the best-of-seven series.

San Antonio will be coached by assistant Ettore Messina, who is replacing Gregg Popovich. The Spurs were terrific at home in the regular season, posting a 33-8 record, behind only Houston and Toronto.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 4

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Warriors big men vs. LaMarcus Aldridge: With JaVale McGee’s availability uncertain, the Warriors will have to dig into their rotation in an effort to contain Aldridge, who rang up 34 points and 12 rebounds in Game 2. If McGee can’t go, expect the bulk of the minutes to be divided between Kevon Looney and David West. Draymond Green will take a few shifts and Zaza Pachulia, did not play in Game 1 or 2, could be pressed into service.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: C JaVale McGee (L quad contusion) is listed as questionable. G Stephen Curry (L MCL sprain) and G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) are listed as out.

Spurs: F Joffrey Lauvergne (personal business) and F Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management) are listed as out. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich (personal reasons) will not be at the game.

SERIES TO DATE

Game 1: Warriors 113, Spurs 92 Game 2: Warriors 116-, Spurs 101

GAME OFFICIALS

Zach Zarba (crew chief), Rodney Mott, Sean Wright, Tre Maddox (alternate)

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won three of four in the regular season, 112-92 on Nov. 2 at San Antonio, 122-105 on Feb. 10 in Oakland and 110-107 on March 8 in Oakland before losing 89-75 on March 19 in San Antonio. The Warriors swept the Spurs in the 2017 Western Conference Finals. The Warriors are 13-6 (including postseason) against San Antonio in the Steve Kerr era.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

RAW EMOTIONS: Coaches and players on both teams are affected by the death of Erin Popovich, Gregg’s wife of 40 years. Emotions are certain to in the building how emotions will influence the outcome, but they are certain to be a factor. Can the Spurs summon an inspirational, storybook performance?

VENUE CHANGE: The Spurs were a markedly better team at home, as suggested by their splits. They were 33-8 at AT&T Center vs. 14-27 on the road. They’ll get a big lift from the sellout crowd in one of the few arenas where the Warriors don’t expect audible support. They do, however, embrace the role of villain.

ROAD DEFENSE: The Warriors rediscovered their ferocious defense in Games 1 and 2 at home. Aside from a few lapses in the first half of Game 2, they were aggressive and effective and able to smother San Antonio’s offense. To be determined is whether than intensity traveled to Texas.