The Warriors had the win against the Washington Wizards in their hands. And yet, for the second time in three games, they let the game slip away.
This loss gives the Warriors a 3-2 record on their five-game road trip -- a record they probably would have been pleased with heading into the trip. But then they hit the best stride they've had all season, dropped two games in gut-wrenching fashion, and there's a sour taste left in their mouths.
But it shouldn't all be considered bitter. Big strides were made for a team that has struggled with consistency all season long, and for that, the Warriors should feel good about where they are as they return home.
"It's tough, so you got to stay positive with where we are overall with a good window of games coming up," Steph Curry said. "Three and two, solid. Should have been 5-0, could have been 4-1. It wasn't. Move on."
In Steve Kerr's eyes, Wednesday's loss in Washington was a culmination of a few things, but mainly it was the result of going on the run the Warriors have put together over the last 10 games.
"I think it was fatigue," Kerr said. "I think we were just exhausted. I think we ran out of gas in the last seven minutes, or so. We had a good lead, seemingly in control, and we just couldn't get it done ... I think the trip just caught up to us. I think our guys look completely gassed."
There are a few things the Warriors have found over the last 10 games, in which they've gone 6-4. The first thing is the human torch that is Curry. During this stretch, he's averaging 39.2 points per game on 52.8 percent field goal shooting, including 49.3 percent from three. But almost more importantly, Golden State has found tremendous success with their second unit.
In four of the Warriors' last five games, the bench has either expanded the lead or kept the team right in the game until the starters come back in. This is a complete switch to what was happening just a few weeks ago. Then, if Curry had an off night, such as the one against the Wizards in which he scored just 18 points, the Warriors would have no chance.
On Wednesday, they at least put themselves in a position to win.
"You got to go prove it, and this last 10 game stretch has been much better in terms of a night-to-night performance," Curry said. "We've had some tough losses, obviously, but some really good wins. We're trending in the right direction. But even tonight is a learning lesson in terms of, even when you don't play your best, just a couple more stops down the stretch, just a couple smarter decisions, will allow us to take a game like this, take it home and get a win."
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Those smarter decisions Curry mentioned include limiting fouls, cutting back turnovers, and making easy baskets. Both losses on the road trip could have been avoided by a few open layups.
"It's just details, margins," Kent Bazemore said.
But, if this game was lost because of fatigue -- which it was, along with Draymond Green fouling out and Wiggins missing the layup -- the Warriors should consider themselves in a good spot.
"We do have 13 games left to take all of that collective experience and hopefully get back healthy," Curry said. "Just stay in the moment. We have a good thing going right now. A lot of confidence, a lot of joy is brewing. We've got to maintain that."