Warriors takeaways: What we learned as Stephen Curry injured in loss to Suns

Warriors takeaways: What we learned as Stephen Curry injured in loss to Suns


SAN FRANCISCO -- Eventually, the Warriors will win a game at Chase Center. It didn't happen Wednesday night, when they lost much more than a game.

In the process of a tip-to-buzzer 121-110 loss to the new and improved Phoenix Suns, Stephen Curry, the Warriors' lodestar, went down with a hand injury with 8:31 remaining in the third quarter and left the game.

Curry, who scored nine points in 21 minutes, did not return. X-rays revealed a broken left hand, meaning he'll miss significant time.

The Warriors fell to 1-3 this season (and 0-2 at Chase Center) in a game that wasn't as close as the final score. They were thoroughly outplayed at both ends. They trailed by 29 (43-14) after one quarter and pulled no closer than 22 over the next two.

Here are three takeaways from the game that changed the Warriors' 2019-20 fortunes.

Curry’s absence casts a pall

The Warriors were being abused long before Curry went down, but his departure sucked most of the air out of the building and sent fans scrambling to the exits after three quarters.

Driving to the basket, Curry was fouled by 6-foot-10, 260-pound Suns center Aron Baynes, with both men landing on the floor, Baynes falling directly onto Curry, who got up holding his left hand but hoping to shoot the two free throws he was awarded.

The Warriors called a timeout to buy time, but Curry was unable to shoot, his night ending as he headed for the locker room with Dr. Rick Celebrini, the Warriors' director of sports medicine and performance.

Under such conditions, the opposing team is allowed to select the shooter. The Suns chose center Willie Cauley-Stein, a 61.1 percent career free-throw shooter, who made both attempts.

That trimmed the deficit to 27 (83-56). The Warriors did not come within less than 20 until they began rallying well into the fourth quarter.

The Debut Duo

More than four weeks after training camp opened, Cauley-Stein and swingman Alec Burks each made their Warriors debuts. Just like everybody else on the roster, they’d like to forget it as soon as last week.

Their individual performances, however, were at least as good as could be expected.

Cauley-Stein finished with 12 points (5-of-5 shooting from the field), five rebounds, one block and one assist. He was minus-8 over 12 minutes.

Burks totaled seven points (3-of-6 shooting from the field, 1 of 3 beyond the arc), two assists and one rebound. He played 18 minutes and finished minus-1.

Neither embarrassed his name nor his game. They looked a bit rusty at times, but they both had a much better excuse than any of their teammates.

Paschall acquits himself nicely

Amid the profound defectiveness that touched most everyone on the Warriors' roster, rookie forward Eric Paschall was an oasis of proficiency.

Making his first start, the Villanova product submitted a career-high -- and team-high -- 20 points (7-of-9 shooting from the field, 6 of 6 from the line), three rebounds, two blocks and one steal. He was no less active on defense than he was on offense, often harassing Phoenix players into mistakes or turnovers.

Perhaps most impressive of all, considering the Warriors were on the painful end of a rout, Paschall managed to finish plus-19 over a game-high 38 minutes.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr wishes 49ers well in Super Bowl 54 vs. Chiefs

Warriors coach Steve Kerr wishes 49ers well in Super Bowl 54 vs. Chiefs

Draymond Green might not be rooting for the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, but one other prominent member of the Warriors’ organization will be.

Coach Steve Kerr delivered a message via social media on Friday, wishing the Niners well as they prepare to take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium on Feb. 2.

"I just wanna say good luck to the 49ers," Kerr said. "Everybody's pulling for you guys, let's go."

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

Draymond said after shootaround on Friday that he’ll be rooting for the Chiefs, whose roster features his close friend, defensive end Frank Clark.

Both Kerr and Green happen to know a thing or two about winning championships, but only one of them will be happy with the result from Miami.

How Warriors gain flexibility in Willie Cauley-Stein trade to Mavs

How Warriors gain flexibility in Willie Cauley-Stein trade to Mavs

SAN FRANCISCO -- Willie Cauley-Stein walked out of shootaround, down a long corridor that leads to the Warriors' locker room in Chase Center late Friday morning in preparation for a game scheduled hours later against the Indiana Pacers. The trek marked the big man's last as a member of Golden State.

By Saturday morning, Cauley-Stein officially was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for the Utah Jazz's second-round draft pick in 2020, ending his short tenure in the Bay Area. Along the way, the Warriors set themselves up for future flexibility. 

In the immediate aftermath, the Warriors shed Cauley-Stein's current $2.17 million salary and his $2.8 million player option for the 2020-21 season, while freeing up an open roster spot for this season and beyond. From a financial perspective, it sank Golden State $2.57 million below the hard cap, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks. Additionally, the Warriors have enough salary space to convert the two-way deals of either Ky Bowman or Marquese Chriss. 

Six months ago, Cauley-Stein came to Warriors in search of career revitalization. After four years in Sacramento, he demanded that the Kings rescind his qualifying offer to make him a free agent last summer. After garnering more lucrative offers from other teams, he chose to sign a one-year contract with Golden State, which included the player option. With a new contract, the center hoped to keep the Warriors' postseason streak alive while earning a payday next summer. 

However, those wishes didn't come to fruition. A week before training camp, Cauley-Stein sprained his foot, causing the center to miss the first month of the season. His injury, coupled with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney missing significant time, led to a lost season for the big man.

Nonetheless, Cauley-Stein expressed a desire to stay with the Warriors long term, citing his relationship with coach Steve Kerr. 

"He wants to build a relationship with you," Cauley-Stein told NBC Sports Bay Area last month. "I think, in the past I hadn't had a relationship with my coach. [Former Kings coach Dave] Joerger, me and him had a pretty good rapport, pretty good, like cordial, but we never had like in-depth conversations about life and stuff like that, and the first couple of conversations I had with coach Kerr was real-life stuff and that hit home with me like, 'Damn, he really tried to get to know me.' "

[RELATED: Draymond not rooting for 49ers]

Unfortunately for Cauley-Stein, he won't get to continue that relationship with Kerr.

Now, with Dallas in need of a center with the loss of Dwight Powell, his hope to find a similar relationship with Rick Carlisle will immediately start in a Mavericks uniform.