Signs of Warriors doom were visible from the start Saturday night, when they couldn’t make a shot and the Milwaukee Bucks couldn’t miss.
Those signs were even more evident in the fourth quarter, when the Warriors reached for their usual stretch of ferocious, game-changing defense and discovered, coming off a double-overtime game a night earlier in Boston, they had nothing.
So went the win streaks. The 24-game streak that began opening night? Gone. The 14-game road streak this season also is gone. Gone, too, is the 28-game streak that dates back to April 9 last season.
So went the chance to become the first NBA team to sweep a seven-game road trip.
All of it went south in a 108-95 loss at BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
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“It’s definitely weird,” Stephen Curry said of losing. “You forget what the feeling is like. But I like how we’re handling it.”
At 24-1, the Warriors can afford to be philosophical about where they stand. They remain miles ahead of the rest of the league. After 14 days away they’re returning home, where they will be for the next 16 days.
The winning was fun, of course, but the toll of travel and toil caught up with the defending champions.
“What they did to start the season, there’s no reason for anyone to hang their heads in that locker room for losing that game,” interim coach Luke Walton said. “They’ve been incredible all year. And the losses are going to come.
“We didn’t have it tonight. That’s why it’s so hard to do what these guys have done so far. Tonight it caught up to us. We didn’t have our shots falling. We were a little slow on our defensive rotations. It happens. But it takes nothing away from what they did to start the season.”
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One night after shooting a season-low 39.3 percent against the Celtics, the Warriors shot 40.9 percent from the floor – their second-lowest total this season. They shot 23.1, a season-low, from beyond the arc.
In the winning-time moments of the fourth quarter, they showed little except fatigue. While the Warriors were shooting 36.8 percent, the Bucks – one of the sorriest offensive teams in the league – were closing it out at 63.2 percent.
“It sucks to say it,” Curry said. “They just played a little harder more consistently than we did.”
When the Warriors went to their small lineup, the Piranha Squad, Milwaukee (10-15) countered with 6-11 center Greg Monroe and 6-7 point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who combined for 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting as the Bucks pulled away.
“It looked like they wanted it a little more tonight,” Walton said. “We looked like we just ran out of gas a little bit.”
Klay Thompson, who sat out Friday’s game with a sprained ankle, was cleared to play and tapped to start. He finished with 12 points (4-of-14 shooting, 2-of-7 from deep) and three assists in 30 minutes.
“It’s disappointing because I thought we beat ourselves,” he said.
“(Losing) was bound to happen,” he added. “It’s unfortunate it happened tonight. But we’re going to see them again on Friday and have a nice stretch at home.”
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And with that, the Warriors placed this game and their streaks into the file of history. They chased history and caught quite a bit of it. They did not catch the big one, falling five short of the record 33-game win streak set by the 1971-72 Lakers.
The effort was there, and by all, until Saturday night. Though Festus Ezeli’s energy stood out in the first half, even he was dragging after intermission.
“It’s tough,” Curry said. “Nobody wanted to see it come to an end; 33 was within our grasp.
“But at 24-1, going home, we can hopefully handle business and get back to playing our best basketball and winning games in the process.”