OAKLAND – No energy, no chemistry, no chance.
Facing the downtrodden Dallas Mavericks on Saturday at Oracle Arena, the Warriors responded with perhaps their worst performance of the season, earning a 126-91 loss for their efforts.
This was so bad that not even Stephen Curry’s presence – he was given the night off – would have been enough to affect a rescue.
Eighteen days after a 33-point loss to Boston was the worst home loss of the Kerr era, the Warriors topped it. Or bottomed it.
Here are three takeaways from a game which should have no redeeming value to the Warriors:
Awfully atrocious abnormalities
After generating tremendous defensive momentum over the past five games – third in the league in defensive rating during that stretch – the Warriors were two levels below atrocious in the first half.
The Mavericks drained 12 of their first 15 shots. They shot 65.2 percent in building a 37-22 lead after one quarter. They made 11 of their first 18 3-pointers. With the usual transgressions – slow rotations, miscommunication and playing too loosely – on full display, Warriors coach Steve Kerr dipped into his timeout allotment three times in the first 14 minutes.
While Dallas was scorching the nets, the Warriors were tossing up brick, boulders and sticks, shooting 29.6 percent in the first quarter and 36.7 percent for the half.
The Mavs, from the jump, came at the Warriors, whose response was tepid, light years away from their recent championship-caliber defense. With the Warriors playing in a stupor, that defense did not make it to Oracle Arena.
With Curry out, the other members of the Warriors bomb squad knew it was on them to carry the offense. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are capable of completing that assignment.
They failed spectacularly this time.
Durant, clearly responding to the circumstances, was aggressive but nowhere near his usual efficiency. Two days after putting up nine shots in a win over the Pacers, he jacked up 12 in the first quarter. He made four. He finished with 25 points on 9-of-25 shooting over 29 minutes.
Thompson was slightly worse, finishing 4-of-13 over 27 minutes.
The two All-Stars combined to 0-of-12 from deep.
As unsightly as it was, it would have been worse if not for the offense of DeMarcus Cousins, who shot 8-of-11 in scoring scored 19 points – which wasn’t close to being enough.
The liabilities and assets of short memories
With an 82-game schedule, there is something to be said about forgetting the last game and focusing on the next. It usually is the fastest route to recovery.
But the Warriors cited their March 10 loss to Phoenix as a turning point. They knew they had no business being roasted by the worst team in the Western Conference, one eagerly looking forward to the lottery. Embarrassed, they said.
The implication was, rather than forget it and move on, it was worth remembering for its motivational powers.
Then, 13 days later, this.
This actually was worse. The Suns prevailed in a close game. The Mavericks were never threatened, succeeding from the opening tip until the final horn.
The lesson for the Warriors in losing to the Suns at Oracle was supposed to be that any opponent is capable of beating them, despite back-to-back championships. To really remember that loss is to not allow a team such as Dallas to come in and thrive.