The Warriors should always expect a grit-and-grind game against the Miami Heat.
Against that veteran team, you can't turn the ball over nor give them free buckets, and need to have sharp decision-making.
The Warriors didn't live by any of those rules Thursday night as they fell to the Heat 116-109 in Miami.
The Warriors (23-25) managed to string together some good basketball, making an 11-3 run in the first five minutes of the third quarter.
Steph Curry finished with 36 points. 11 rebounds and three assists, while Draymond Green added 16 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and four steals, and Andrew Wiggins had 23 points, eight rebounds, four assists, one steal and three blocks.
But in the end, turnovers and fouls cost Golden State the game. To make matters worse, Jordan Poole and Kevon Looney had to leave the game in the fourth quarter, both because of rolled ankles.
Here are three takeaways from the Warriors' loss:
Fouls and turnovers decided the game
Fouling has popped up here and there as an issue for the Warriors. And when it's a problem, it's a big problem. On Thursday night, it was the deciding factor.
The Warriors shot 36 of 82 from the field, including 15 of 37 on 3-pointers. The Heat went 39 of 82 from the field and 13 of 39 from three. And in the end, the Heat (25-24) made just two more free throws than the Warriors. But that's because the Warriors got the fouling in check down the stretch. Early on, it was the ultimate problem area.
Turnovers weren't friendly to the Warriors, either, committing 20 of them that led to 27 Miami points.
Golden State had multiple chances to take this game, but the fouling and turnovers allowed Miami to get back into it or extend its preexisting lead.
A three-point Heat lead to start the fourth quarter quickly ballooned to nine in the first two minutes, and just continued to grow when the Warriors picked up three fouls in that same timeframe. The Warriors' fouling decreased substantially from there, but it was too late. The Heat made their final push to take the game.
Wiggins continues to step up
Andrew Wiggins has been the Warriors' most consistent player all season. But recently, he's broken out of being just the guy the team could count on to always score at least 10 points to become its second-leading scorer who will have a standout game if no one else can get anything.
That was the case yet again against the Heat. After trudging through an ugly first quarter riddled with fouls and no offensive rhythm, Wiggins was the first to break through and give the Warriors anything.
For so long, there was a question of who would help Curry on offense. Now, the Warriors have their answer. It's Wiggins, and he needs to maintain this throughout the rest of the season.
Steph's tailbone injury still something to watch
Curry understands how important he is to the Warriors, for both how he plays and the energy boost he gives the team.
So, if he feels he can help spark something in his teammates, he's going to do that. But right now, it's coming at the cost of his body.
Following the Warriors' Monday win over the Chicago Bulls -- Curry's first game back after missing the previous five with a tailbone contusion -- Curry fell several three on his tailbone. After the game, he said it would be a while before he was 100 percent health-wise and it would be about managing and play through the pain in the next few games.
Thursday against the Heat, he fell on it several more times. Some were because he took charges. Sure, it shows a grittiness and gutsiness that is useful to the Warriors. But is it more useful than having Curry healthy?
Curry played one heck of a game and managed to keep his pain in check, but it's something to keep in mind throughout the next several games.