HOUSTON -- The effort was there, though execution and shooting mostly failed to materialize for the Warriors on Thursday night.
The result was a 107-86 loss to the Rockets at Toyota Center. The Warriors (12-4) have lost three of their last five, while the Rockets (7-7) reached .500 for the first time this season.
The Warriors shot 42.1 percent from the field and committed 17 turnovers, off which Houston scored a whopping 29 points.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
Quantity trumps quality from deep
The Warriors have been adamant that they’re not going to increase their output of 3-point shots simply because most of the NBA is trending heavily in that direction. They want “quality” shots, no matter the distance.
That approach is a factor in the Warriors entering the game shooting an NBA-best 41.8 percent from beyond the arc but ranked 19th in attempts.
The Rockets, by contrast, lead the league in attempts from deep. They aim to shoot 3-balls by the dozen -- per quarter -- and that was of massive benefit in this game.
Houston was 16 of 47 from deep, while the Warriors were 4 of 18. They didn’t make their second triple until inside the final 20 seconds of the third quarter.
No matter the quality of the shots, it’s tough to overcome that 48-12 scoring disadvantage.
Lineup change has mixed results
Though Quinn Cook started at point guard in all three games since Stephen Curry was sidelined, Warriors coach Steve Kerr took a look at the Rockets and decided to make a change, ostensibly to improve his defense.
Enter Andre Iguodala, who made his first start of the season.
Iguodala’s length, along with that of Klay Thompson, probably is the best defensive backcourt the Warriors can offer, certainly is against a Houston team that has James Harden and Chris Paul at guard.
The backcourt, however, had its offensive challenges on this night. Though Iguodala has been shooting well of late, he attempted just four shots, making two.
The absence of Cook for much of the game was missed insofar the Warriors weren’t able to consistently stretch the floor.
The defense, however, was solid. James Harden and Chris Paul shot a combined 12 of 33 from the floor.
They needed more from Thompson
With Curry out, the Warriors will look for offensive punch from another source. One such source is Thompson, a remarkable shooter who on this night did not deliver at the needed rate and has fallen into a spell of futility.
Thompson had eight points through the first three quarters and finished with 10 on 5-of-16 shooting over 30 minutes. He was 0 of 5 from beyond the arc.
Thompson is now 37 of 86 (43.0 percent) from the field and 10 of 33 (30.3) over the last four games.
He’ll keep shooting because it’s what he does best on that end of the floor. But his scoring efficiency is missing when the Warriors are most desperate for it.
Until Thompson’s shots start dropping, scoring will continue to be a struggle for the Warriors.