Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 127-101 loss to Lakers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 127-101 loss to Lakers

OAKLAND -- The Warriors chose Christmas Day to do something they’ve rarely done in four-plus seasons under coach Steve Kerr.

On national TV, in prime time in front of most of America, they let loose with a stinker at Oracle Arena, and lost 127-101 to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Warriors were outshot, outhustled and outsmarted by a frisky Lakers team that lost LeBron James to a groin injury with 7:51 left in the third quarter but still rolled.

Here are three takeaways from a game in which the Warriors, who fell to 23-12, never led after the opening minutes:

Santa Claus didn’t bring the Dubs any defense

If the Warriors are to string together an impressive run of games, they will have to do it with defense. It has been inconsistent at best, and it didn't show up Tuesday night.

Too many late rotations, sloppy switches and half-hearted closeouts contributed mightily to the Lakers (20-14) taking control early behind 52.4 percent shooting in the first quarter and hiking it to 63.6 percent in the second. That’s a 58.1 percent first half.

The Warriors turned it up briefly in the third quarter, after James left, to pull within three (78-75, 2:48 left in the quarter) before the Lakers recovered and pulled away, shooting 55.3 percent for the game.

And this is a team that, in the minds of many observers, doesn’t have enough shooting.

The Warriors victimized themselves with individual breakdowns, and there also were team breakdowns. Most of it, though, was a matter of them not doing enough -- with the exception of their third-quarter spurt -- to make their presence felt.

Iguodala was a lonely cook

The Warriors don’t often turn to Andre Iguodala for offense, but on this night, they didn’t have much of a choice.

With Stephen Curry struggling and Klay Thompson virtually irrelevant, Iguodala got assertive, responding with a season- and team-high 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc.

Kevin Durant found his way to 21 points, while Curry had 15 and Thompson added just five.

Iguodala, averaging 4.8 points per game this season, was, for most of this contest, the Warriors' most effective offensive option. He added five rebounds and four assists off the bench.

Odds are the Warriors will lose if Iguodala is the high scorer despite Curry, Durant and Thompson all being healthy.

Thompson still seeking his shot

Thompson had another miserable shooting night, going 2 of 7 overall, including 1 of 3 from deep. His five-point night not only was his lowest of the season but also marked the first time he failed to reach double figures in a game.

Thompson now is 8 of 39 from deep over his last six games. His scoring totals have been, in order, 27 points, 16, 12, 14, 12 and five.

The eighth-year shooting guard entered the game shooting a career-low 33.7 percent from deep.

The man who became an All-Star because of his 3-point shooting has become consistently unreliable beyond the arc.

How Warriors are affected by EuroLeague canceling rest of 2019-20 season

How Warriors are affected by EuroLeague canceling rest of 2019-20 season

While the NBA is inching closer to resuming the 2019-20 season, Europe's top basketball league decided not to pursue the same avenue.

The EuroLeague announced Monday that it was canceling the remainder of its 2019-20 season.

Each EuroLeague team had played 28 of their 34 regular-season games.

Ordinarily, the EuroLeague ending its season wouldn't be news for the Warriors and their fans. But 2020 has been a completely different year for the Warriors. Mired in a 15-50 season, Golden State will have a top-five pick in this year's NBA draft.

That means 19-year-old Israeli prospect Deni Avdija, who plays for Maccabi Tel-Aviv, is on the Warriors' radar. NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole reported at the end of April that the Warriors have traveled to Europe to take a look at Avdija, who could be a top-five draft pick.

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With the Warriors missing the playoffs this season, the team was going to use the unexpected free time in May to go scout prospects in Europe. Coach Steve Kerr reportedly was supposed to go watch Killian Hayes and Théo Maledon, while Kent Lacob, director of team development, was going to scout Avdija. But the coronavirus pandemic forced the Warriors to cancel those travel plans.

Due to travel restrictions, the Warriors likely wouldn't have been able to send anyone to watch Avdija play in the final six EuroLeague games had they been held, but they could have at least gotten more film on him. Now, they will have to form their opinion of Avdija with the in-person scouting they've already done and the film they have on hand.

In 21 games this season against Israel Basketball Super League competition, Avdija averaged 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 26.6 minutes.

[RELATED: 2020 NBA Mock Draft 7.0]

Avdija hasn't seen as much playing time in the EuroLeague, so his numbers aren't great. In 26 games against better competition, he's averaging 4.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 14.2 minutes.

We don't know when the NBA will hold the 2020 draft, but if the Warriors select Avdija, we'll know they saw enough of him before the coronavirus put a stop to basketball around the world.

Michael Jordan-Steph Curry 'The Match' pairing posed by Colin Cowherd

Michael Jordan-Steph Curry 'The Match' pairing posed by Colin Cowherd

Sunday’s “The Match,” featuring a showdown between NFL stars Peyton Manning and Tom Brady along with PGA icons Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods was a smashing success. The event raised $20 million for coronavirus relief in the United States, and was the highest-rated golf event in cable television history.

The access and humorous trash talk throughout has led many to speculate as to which duo from sports could be part of the next iteration of the event. Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd discussed this on Monday and posed some interesting potential pairings.

"Michael has always let it be known that he's pretty good at golf," Cowherd said. "Steph is easily the best current NBA golfer, that I would pay to see."

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Steph Curry tweeted Sunday that he’d like to be included next time around, and sure enough Cowherd first mentioned a duel between the Warriors star and another NBA icon with North Carolina roots in Michael Jordan. MJ was shown to play golf frequently throughout his NBA career during ESPN’s “The Last Dance,” and continues to be a fan of the sport.

Curry is an avid golf fan and was glued to his television Sunday during “The Match.” He’s played in some professional golf events in the past, and always is among the best current athletes at the celebrity-laden American Century Championship each summer in Lake Tahoe.

Given MJ’s propensity to trash talk during his historic NBA career, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t be trading barbs constantly with Curry. Steph’s confidence never has been in question and he likely would have plenty of fun going back and forth with Jordan.

[RELATED: Who Warriors fans think Steph Curry should team up with in 'The Match']

Throwing a couple PGA pros in, especially two who are avid NBA fans could make for some great conversation. As we saw throughout Sunday’s foursome, Mickelson and Woods were more than willing to engage and dish out some one-liners.

MJ likely wouldn’t be thrilled about being mic’d up for an entire round with no editorial control. But if both parties would be willing, this would be the most highly-anticipated event in the history of golf.

Plus we finally could settle that pesky debate of which team was more dominant between Curry’s 2016-17 Warriors and Jordan’s 1995-96 Bulls.