If you were looking for a gorgeous, aesthetically pleasing display of Warriors basketball, their game against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night at American Airlines Center definitely wasn't what you had in mind.
It was a grind-it-out style game, with both teams being fueled by their defense. But, it was the edge that Dallas had on offense that caused the Warriors to fall 99-82.
The Warriors (29-8) couldn't buy a bucket in the first half, shooting below 40 percent from the floor and going 1-of-15 from three through the first two quarters. Finally, something clicked in the third quarter and they were able to get in the game, coming back from down 14. But one good quarter of basketball won't win you games, as the Mavericks (20-18) ran away with the game in the fourth quarter.
Steph Curry's struggles continued in Dallas, as he scored just 14 points on 5-of-24 shooting from the field and 1-of-9 shooting from 3-point range. Curry now is 8-of-41 from the field over the last two games, including 2-of-19 from long distance.
Andrew Wiggins finished the game with a team-high 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block.
Here are three takeaways from the night:
Payton II makes an impact
No one on the Warriors was more effective on Wednesday night than Gary Payton II.
In his 24 minutes, Payton finished with 11 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting, 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals -- the third double-double of his NBA career.
Payton, who was signed to the team's 15th roster heading into the season, continues to be a revelation for Golden State as his game is far more dynamic than expected. His defense has been no surprise. He flashed glimpses of it last season and is a big reason why the Warriors brought him back. But his offense and his rebounding have given them a burst they didn't know they were getting.
The kind of boost GP2 brings was on full display in Dallas.
Strong defense gave then a chance
While the Warriors struggled on offense, they stayed locked in on the defensive end, holding the Mavericks to 37.9 percent shooting from the floor and 30 percent from three. It's what allowed them to keep the game within reach for the majority of the night before their shooting woke up.
And once the Warriors' offense came around, their defense only got stronger. That shouldn't be a surprise, as the Warriors could finally set their defense with the Mavericks having to take the ball in from out of bounds instead of in transition every possession.
Finding offense in the paint
While the Warriors are known for their 3-point shooting, scoring in the paint was their lifeline against the Mavericks.
Golden State scored 54 of their points in the paint, living off pump-fakes, crafty layups and a few dunks here and there. With the Mavericks playing without Kristaps Porzingis, Willie Cauley-Stein and Boban Marjanovic, Dallas was without a pure shot-blocker, it was the best way for the Warriors to find consistent scoring.
It was an even bigger blessing because of what was happening just a few more feet out, beyond the 3-point line.
The Warriors shot just 17.9 percent on 5-of-28 shooting from beyond the arc -- their worst 3-point shooting game of the season. Overall, Wednesday was one of Golden State's worst offensive night so far this season. But, their scoring in the paint at least gave them something.