The Warriors, proud competitors, never raised the flag of surrender Wednesday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. If they had, the Nets would have smoked it.
Facing profoundly unfavorable circumstances, the Warriors concluded their six-game road trip with a wholly predictable 143-113 loss to the Nets.
Playing without Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins, Golden State fell behind by 29 points after one quarter and never came close to mounting a serious threat, as Brooklyn extended its win streak to seven.
James Wiseman led all scorers, with a career-high 30 points. Moses Moody and Patrick Baldwin Jr. each finished with 17, a career-high for Baldwin.
Here are three observations from the finale of an East Coast journey that leaves the Warriors (15-18) limping home three games under .500 for the first time since the 2020-21 season:
The Wiseman Watch
As Wiseman has endured a yo-yo season, shuttling between Golden State and Santa Cruz, the only consistent theme has been discussion of his future.
Should the Warriors stay patient with the 7-foot-1 center, monitoring his progress while allowing him to develop?
Or should they trade him because he’s not ready to contribute to a team riding its veteran core?
Those in the latter camp had to love Wiseman’s performance. His 17 points, on 7-of-7 shooting, accounted for one-third of the team’s first-half total. His 30 points came on 12-of-14 shooting from the field. He added six rebounds and one block, finishing minus-12 over 28 minutes.
Wiseman was considerably more assertive than he was in a loss to the Knicks on Tuesday night. His defensive positioning, aided by the direction of Draymond Green, was more in line with what the Warriors have been seeking.
Put simply, this was the most productive of Wiseman’s 16 games in the NBA this season.
The Almost Perfect Rookie
Baldwin has played more games this season with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors than with Golden State. It’s part of the rite of passage for a rookie not ready for significant NBA minutes.
On this night, though, Baldwin took advantage of the playing time afforded due to the depleted roster and submitted the most impressive performance of his two months in the NBA, scoring his career-high total on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, including 5-of-8 beyond the arc.
The 6-foot-10 forward added three rebounds and finished minus-3 over a career-high 23 minutes. Baldwin came off the bench and made his first six shots, including five consecutive 3-pointers before missing one early in the fourth quarter.
This was a glimpse of the PBJ that had the coaches buzzing during training camp.
With Donte DiVincenzo (non-Covid illness) and JaMychal Green (health and safety protocols) joining Curry (left shoulder), Thompson (rest) and Wiggins (right adductor strain), coach Steve Kerr’s rotation was in full scramble mode.
The starting lineup: Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, Jonathan Kuminga, Moody and Poole. Poole and Kuminga, the two more promising scorers, struggled mightily. Green, Looney and Kuminga combined for 12 points. Poole shot 4-of-17 from the field, while Kuminga was 1-of-9.
The bench: Ty Jerome, Anthony Lamb, Ryan Rollins, Baldwin and Wiseman. Jerome managed to reach double figures, with 14 points.
The result generally was about as chaotic as expected. Two frequent trouble spots were prominent, as the Warriors committed 21 turnovers and Brooklyn – even with an indifferent second half – shredded the defense for 64.3 percent shooting from the field.