A brutal collapse in the final eight minutes led to a crushing Warriors' loss to the Orlando Magic on Friday. Golden State fell to the Magic 124-120 and failed once again to secure a third consecutive win.
The Warriors (16-14) were listless in the first half and fell behind Orlando (12-18) early. They trailed by as many as 17 points before a lights-out third quarter, in which the team scored a season-high 43 points. Sparked by Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr., the Warriors surged back into contention. A key Draymond Green 3-pointer as time expired in the quarter resulted in a one-point lead for the Warriors heading into the final period.
Golden State built their lead up to 13 points, but with eight minutes left in the game, they quickly unraveled. The Magic wasted no time in hitting key shots and burst out on a 13-2 run. The Warriors had no answer, and suddenly lost all momentum with no ability to recover.
It undoubtedly was a frustrating night for Golden State in their first contest of a four-game road trip, and the inconsistencies displayed in their loss are symbolic of what the team has endured throughout the season. The Warriors should've walked out of Amway Center in the win column. Instead, the Magic snatched away a victory.
"It was a weird game overall," Steph Curry said on a video call with reporters after the game. "First game of a road trip where you fly across the country, you’re liable to have a slow start, and that’s what happened."
Curry, who finished with 29 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds, admitted Friday's loss was representative of the Warriors' play so far this season.
"It was a really emotional roller coaster all night," he said. "It's kind of the theme of our season."
Even with their crushing collapse in the game's final minutes, Golden State still had opportunities to cash in a win. But they couldn't buy a bucket and mustered just 3-of-10 shooting from the field in the last five minutes.
Coach Steve Kerr attributed that to two factors: a lack of ball movement offensively and a Magic team that just wouldn't quit.
"Orlando played really well down the stretch," Kerr said. "They made big shots. We couldn’t get a stop in the last five, six minutes."
"On offense, it seemed to me like the ball just stopped," he continued. "They’re a really good defense, tough matchup for us because of their size and the way the individual matchups go.
"I’ll have to watch the tape, but it seemed to me the last five minutes it was one pass and a shot. We stopped doing what had gotten us the lead. When you do that and you’re giving up hoops on the other end, the whole game shifts."
The Warriors were able to get back in the ballgame by utilizing a fast-paced offense, which created either open looks from distance or drivable, open lanes. That offense was nearly nonexistent in the final portion of the fourth quarter.
"We just got a little stagnant towards the end," Juan Toscano-Anderson, who put up seven points, five rebounds and four assists, said. "It’s a natural reaction, at least for me, to get excited when you go up by 10 and you were down 16. … I think that was our issue tonight."
For Wiggins, whose 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting in the third quarter helped ignite the Warriors, the loss was more about an inability to slow down the Magic.
"They made shots," he said. "Some of their guys made deep 3’s. That’s what it came down to, really. There was a couple times where the ball stopped moving on our end."
"It was a game of runs," Green echoed. "They started making a run and we weren’t able to stop it."
Even with another notable game from Oubre, who dropped 26 points, marking his 11th straight game in double-digits, and continued stability from Wiggins (16 points), there was no disguising the Warriors' contempt in a loss they should not have taken -- and Green said as much.
"I think we should’ve won this game tonight and continued on a winning streak," he said. "We let another one get away."