Coming off their first three-game winning streak, it looked like the Warriors finally were picking up some rhythm. But whatever progress Golden State had made in the last few days -- even the last few months -- evaporated against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night.
In their 117-91 loss to the defending champions, the Warriors (19-16) looked like the team that lost to the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks in blowouts at the start of the season. Nothing worked for them.
The Warriors' offense looked stagnant, and their defense was hardly there.
We know that the Warriors aren't the same team from three months ago. And maybe Sunday's loss was the culmination of several consecutive gritty games. But, this isn't the time for the Warriors to crumble. They have two more difficult games before the All-Star break, and then pick up right where they left off with three more -- one of which is against these same Lakers (23-11).
But let's not get too ahead of ourselves. Here are three takeaways from Sunday's loss.
Warriors lost in the first quarter
The first quarter set the tone of how this game would play out, and it wasn't pretty.
The Warriors couldn't get anything to go their way. Draymond Green got an early technical. James Wiseman picked up two quick fouls. They couldn't hit a bucket from anywhere -- not even from within a foot of the basket. And, well, LeBron James and the Lakers picked apart the Warriors' offense and got anything they wanted.
This is how the first matchup between the Warriors and Lakers started back in January. The Lakers jumped out to an early lead, and the Warriors had to scratch and claw their way back in.
But the difference Sunday was the Warriors managed to make come back in that first game. On Sunday, they couldn't. The final three quarters Sunday were almost an exact replica of the first three last month, never giving the Warriors a chance to even make the game competitive.
As if the Warriors needed more problems, Green sprained his ankle midway through the second quarter and was ruled out for the rest of the game during halftime.
It's no secret how important Green is to everything the Warriors do on both ends of the floor. On offense, Green is one of the Warriors' best facilitators, and his passing ability opens up the floor in ways that are unreplicable. And on defense, he's the anchor to everything.
When the Warriors were without Wiseman and Kevon Looney, Green did a superb job of filling in as a small-ball center. But, the Warriors don't have anyone who can fill in for Green that way.
There isn't a timetable yet for Green's return, but for the Warriors' sake, they need it to be soon.
Andrew Wiggins, aka Mr. Consistency, has been slipping a bit for the Warriors lately. Over the last 15 games, Wiggins has shot just 27.3 percent on 3-pointers. That's compared to the 40.6 percent he shot the first 20 games.
But it came to a head against the Lakers.
For the first time this season, Wiggins didn't finish with double figures in scoring, putting up just three points on 1-of-5 shooting.
Seeing this from Wiggins is a bad sign for the Warriors. Up to this point, he had been someone the Warriors could always count on for solid positive contributions. And for a team desperate for consistency throughout this first half, knowing they had a guy they didn't have to worry about was helpful.
It might not have made all the difference in a game like Sunday's, but it sure would have helped.