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


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


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.

Marquese Chriss explains why he only wanted to play for the Warriors

Marquese Chriss explains why he only wanted to play for the Warriors

Marquese Chriss entered Warriors training camp on a non-guaranteed contract. Most people assumed he was not going to make the Opening Night roster.

But after a strong preseason, Golden State waived Alfonzo McKinnie to make room for Chriss.

Despite averaging 7.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists through the Dubs' first 38 games, he was waived Jan. 6 before his contract became fully guaranteed for the rest of the season.

Chriss returned about a week later on a two-way contract, which then was converted to a standard NBA deal Feb. 7.

What a whirlwind.

"I don't take it personally because it was communicated," the 22-year-old explained Monday during a radio appearance on KNBR 680. "The situation that we were in with having to release me, then bringing me back on a two-way and then converting it. All of it was communicated beforehand so it never blindsided me.

"After they waived me in Sacramento -- I had talked to Steve (Kerr) and (Director of Basketball Operations) Jonnie West -- and I had told them that I wanted to come back. In the situation that I'm in, it's not really about the money. I have plenty of time in my career to make money.

"Right now, it's just about the opportunity to solidify myself and build who I am as a player ... they explained to me about the two-way and how it would work out if I came back. There never really was any uncertainty.

"I just wanted to be on this team."

[RELATED: Report: Ex-Spurs forward Simmons to join G League Warriors]

And solidify himself he has.

Over his last 12 games (10 starts), Chriss is averaging 13.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.6 blocks and 0.8 steals, while shooting over 62 percent from the field and 76 percent from the free throw line.

Not bad for a guy who will enter training camp next season on a non-guaranteed contract again.

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

Watch Klay Thompson's hilarious Anta commercial featuring dog Rocco

Watch Klay Thompson's hilarious Anta commercial featuring dog Rocco

In late June 2017, Klay Thompson reportedly signed a new contract with Anta that could pay him up to $80 million over 10 years.

It appears the three-time NBA champion recently filmed a new commercial for the Chinese company. And yes, Klay's English bulldog Rocco is a key component.


Will this ad air exclusively in China? Or will it be coming to a TV screen near you in the United States?

No clue.

[RELATED: Lacob discusses who will represent Dubs at NBA Draft Lottery]

But we do know that it's an awesome commercial and very on-brand.

Plain and simple, the world needs more Klay Thompsons.

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram