Warriors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in sloppy 129-118 loss vs. Pacers

Warriors

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Warriors entered Friday's matchup against the Indiana Pacers hoping to get out of a month-long rut. By the end of the night, they added another loss to their record, falling to the Pacers 129-118. 

The loss marks Golden State's third straight, and the team's 13th in its last 14 outings. 

Over a stretch in which the Warriors played five of their last seven games at home, the team won just once, keeping their place among the league's worst teams as they prepare for their longest road trip of the season. 

Here are the takeaways from another dismal performance: 

Bullied without Cauley-Stein

The reported trade of Willie Cauley-Stein gave Golden State much-needed financial flexibility against the hard cap. It also left the Warriors without anyone over seven-feet tall on the roster. By the end of the evening, the Pacers took advantage, outscoring the Dubs in the paint 56-28. 

Without Cauley-Stein, Warriors coach Steve Kerr opted to start Marquese Chriss at center. While Chriss finished with 13 points, he grabbed just three rebounds. His backup Omari Spellman didn't fare any better, grabbing just two boards. 

Friday's performance illustrates the current reality for Golden State's frontline. At the moment, Spellman and Chriss are the only available big men in the rotation. While serviceable, both players are routinely playing out of position. Rookie Alen Smailagic could get called up from the G League, but the rotation will still fail to mirror a formidable unit. 

 

[RELATED: How Dubs benefit from reported Cauley-Stein trade to Mavs]

Russell fills it up

With Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry in street clothes, the Warriors need a player to carry the offensive load. D'Angelo Russell gave a valiant effort Friday evening. 

In 36 minutes, he finished with 37 points, including nine 3-pointers, keeping the Warriors within range for much of the night. Russell did much of his damage in the third quarter, scoring 10 points, including two treys. During the stretch, Golden State cut Indiana's 19-point lead to five. 

Russell is capable of similar performances and they'll be needed as the season progresses. However, it remains to be seen if wins will follow. 

Turnovers galore

You can't put the ball in the basket if you're giving it to the other team. On Friday evening, the Warriors were givers, turning the ball over 20 times. 

The variety of giveaways was noteworthy. Russell was the main culprit, finishing with five turnovers, while Draymond Green committed four, including two possessions in which he threw the ball out of bounds altogether. Even as the Warriors toyed with a brief comeback, giveaways again led to their downfall. 

With four minutes left in the game, Alec Burks secured a rebound and threw an outlet pass to Green, only to overthrow the forward and negate a potential fast-break layup that would have cut the deficit to single digits. 

The Warriors won't have the talent edge on most nights, but simple mistakes are simply unacceptable.