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Three things to know: Why are the Warriors 2-12 on the road?

Golden State Warriors v Milwaukee Bucks

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 13: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors waits for the opening tip during the first half of a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum on December 13, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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Three Things is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks that make the NBA must-watch.

1) Why are the Warriors 2-12 on the road?

Saturday night the Warriors reminded everyone they are the defending champions and comfortably handled the best team in the NBA this season, the Boston Celtics, behind 66 points combined from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Three nights later, the Milwaukee Bucks ran the Warriors out of the building, leading by 20 or more for much of the second half.

What changed? Sure, the Bucks are a better defensive team and they have the unstoppable force that is Giannis Antetokounmpo (30 points, 12 rebounds). But the biggest difference:

The Warriors were on the road.

Golden State is 12-2 at the Chase Center. However, Tuesday night in Milwaukee the Warriors fell to 2-12 away from the Bay Area (and the Warriors can’t blame all that on the refs).

That becomes an issue because Tuesday night was Game 1 of a six-game road trip for the Warriors, their longest of the season — they play five more games on the road over the next eight days. Next up for the Warriors are the Pacers, Sixers, Raptors, Knicks, and Nets — all teams from the East, and the Warriors have yet to beat an East team on the road.

Steve Kerr said pregame he thinks the road woes are a bit of a championship hangover. Maybe, but two key areas are hurting them in road games.

First is defense — the Warriors’ 120.8 defensive rating on the road is 29th in the league. They can’t get stops, and Tuesday night the Bucks had a 121.8 offensive rating. Warriors opponents average 123.1 points per game on them when Golden State is on the road, but get home and they only surrender 109.9 per game (13.2 PPG more).

The other is clutch play — the Warriors have left some winnable games on the table. There was the time they had a four-point lead inside of :10 seconds left and still found a way to lose to the Jazz. They led by four inside the final minute against struggling Charlotte and gave away the game. They fell in Orlando in a game where Klay Thompson got a clean look at a game-winner and missed. Miami came from behind by locking the Warriors’ offense down in the final five minutes, giving up just two points.

There have been plenty of road blowout losses as well — see the Bucks on Tuesday — but the Warriors have not risen to the moment.

We’ve been forgiving of the Warriors because of the championship hangover Kerr mentioned. That seems real, the Warriors seem disinterested in these November and December games. But if the Warriors don’t find a few road wins on this trip, they could head into Christmas Day outside the playoff (or even play-in) picture in the West — they currently sit 10th in the conference.

At that point, it’s time to worry a little.

2) Jayson Tatum, Boston’s offense finds its groove again Lakers

First things first: If you’ve been in the league for 20 seasons, how do you still have this in your legs?

Now on to our regularly-scheduled game:

From the opening tip, the Celtics looked like a team frustrated after two straight road losses and they started knocking down shots against the Lakers in the arena they had missed just the night before against the Clippers.

The Celtics came out hot, took the lead and controlled the game through most of the first half and early second, stretching their lead up to 20 points early in the third. That’s when the Celtics’ legs started to look tired and the Lakers — whose offense can be fearsome in spurts (but they struggle to sustain it) — started making plays.

That’s when the Celtics do what contending teams do and found another gear for the final minutes. They gave themselves a chance and Jayson Tatum (44 points on the night) made the play to force overtime.

In overtime, the Celtics were in control and picked up the 122-118 win. Anthony Davis finished with 37 and LeBron James 33 for the Lakers.

It wasn’t the kind of offensive performance we have seen from the Celtics much of the season, but it was closer than we have seen the last two games. Boston is still figuring out how to play without Robert Williams and Al Horford against teams that are comfortable going smaller and switching everything defensively like the Clippers and Warriors (the two losses prior to Tuesday night). When asked about that after the Clippers game, Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla shrugged off the concern saying they need to figure it out now, but that won’t be an issue once they get healthy.

Both Horford and Williams are close to a return to the court.

3) Stephen Silas returns to bench for Rockets

Chris Paul and Bismack Biyombo both came up, hugged Stephen Silas and shed a tear with the Rockets coach pregame. They were passing along their condolences and love to Silas, whose father Paul — a giant of the game — passed away over the weekend.

Silas spoke publicly on Tuesday night for the first time about his dad’s passing.

A couple of highlights:

“I don’t know if it makes it easier or not, but my dad was a coach and he would tell me to coach. Get your butt out there and coach. So that’s what I did.”

“I’m very proud to be my dad’s son. I’m very proud that people see him in me. And I want that to continue. Whenever it is my time comes, I want people to say the same things that they said about him over the last couple of days about (me). And hopefully they’ll do that.”