The Warriors opened the second half of the season as they closed the first, by extending a streak they do not want.
With a healthy James Wiseman watching from the bench most of Thursday night, the Warriors' losing streak hit four games thanks to a 130-104 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Golden State (19-19) dropped to .500 for the first time since Feb. 8.
The Warriors were outworked, out-sized and outplayed in every phase by a superior team -- vastly superior on this night -- and, for their effort, will take a two-games-to-one loss in the regular-season series.
Here are three takeaways from a game so one-sided that neither Steph Curry nor Draymond Green returned after being subbed out in the third quarter.
Wiseman sits, and it hurts
It was obvious on Wednesday night that Kerr was displeased with Wiseman, who missed a mandatory COVID-19 test and, therefore, was not allowed to practice with his teammates.
Though Wiseman, after testing negative again, was cleared to play, Kerr did not start him, opting to go with Kevon Looney. The normal rotation would have Wiseman entering midway through the first quarter. That did not happen.
Nor did he enter in the second quarter. Nor the third.
Not until the fourth quarter, with the Warriors trailing 104-68, was Wiseman’s name called. He played all 12 minutes, totaling 14 points and seven rebounds, with two turnovers.
As disciplinary measures go, this was relatively mild. It was transparent, though, and unusual at the NBA level.
Years from now, this might be looked upon as the right move, a lesson from which Wiseman learned something valuable about professional obligation. It might be, in the long run, good for the Warriors.
On this night, it made the Warriors a smaller, shorter and less imposing team.
New look an epic failure
In his search for a more productive second unit, coach Steve Kerr promised rotational changes in the second half of the season. They certainly were needed.
Kerr delivered. His new rotation did not.
The second quarter opened with Nico Mannion and Jordan Poole in the backcourt, joined by Kelly Oubre Jr., Juan Toscano-Anderson and Eric Paschall.
What followed was, for the most part, seven minutes of basketball malpractice no amount of youthful exuberance could salvage.
The Warriors were shorter, slower and much less experienced. They committed seven fouls -- three in a 12-second span -- made four field goals, committed three turnovers and were outscored 20-9. A two-point deficit grew to 13 before Curry and Green returned with 4:49 left in the half.
Those seven minutes changed the tone of the game, as the Warriors unraveled over the final 29 minutes.
Curry and Green struggle
Curry has had his share of forgettable moments at Staples Center, and Thursday was one.
The same applied, in this game, to Green.
Curry scored 14 points in 27 minutes, shooting 6-of-16 from the field and 1-of-8 from distance. He was minus-19 for his efforts. Perhaps trying to instill some fight in his teammates, and maybe get himself going, Curry even tried a fiery sideline rant. To no avail.
Green scored 12 points (3-of-7 shooting, 2-of-3 from deep), an output that usually bodes well for Golden State, but the other elements of his game never materialized. The clearest sign of his lack of rhythm was that had more fouls and turnovers -- three each -- than assists (two).
The two veterans looked as if they were operating with an All-Star break hangover.