What we learned as Steph’s 25 not enough in Warriors’ loss to Mavs

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What we learned as Steph’s 25 not enough in Warriors’ loss to Mavs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area


SAN FRANCISCO — Not even a starting lineup change was enough to jolt the Warriors out of their recent offensive funk. They didn’t play very well defensively, either, as Dallas Mavericks star Luka Dončić was a dominant force all game.

It all added up to a Warriors’ 132-122 loss, Golden State’s third straight defeat that dropped it two games under .500 at 15-17.

It wasn’t all bad.

The Warriors made a strong surge in the fourth quarter and got within 119-114 following a Chris Paul 3-pointer. Earlier in the game, he reached a major milestone when he scored the 22,00th career point.

Stephen Curry shook off another slow start and found his shooting stroke in the second half when Golden State made its best run. He made a pair of clutch 3-pointers in the fourth quarter that kept the Warriors close before the Mavs sealed the deal.

Curry, who had been in a mini shooting slump lately, missed six of his first seven shots but came back strong in the second half, finished with 25 points on 9-of-25 shooting overall, while handing out seven assists.

Gary Payton II made his return and was greeted with a rousing ovation when he checked in late in the first half. He played fewer than 10 minutes and didn’t have much of an impact, not surprising considering how much time he had missed with a calf injury.

On the negative side, the Warriors never found a consistent defense to stop Dončić, who had 39 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists.

Klay’s shot off mark all nightAfter appearing to break out of his early-season scoring slump in recent weeks, Klay Thompson’s shooting woes arose again. He was 1 of 9 in the first half and missed both of his shots in the second half, finishing with three points – his second-fewest of the season.

Even more telling was that Thompson was on the bench for most of the fourth quarter when the game was still somewhat in doubt.

This will continue to fuel speculation that the Warriors should trade Thompson, but don’t expect that to happen. Like he did after his earlier troubles, Thompson will be fine and his stats will be back to expected levels by the end of the season.

No stopping LukaThe Warriors tried just about everything they could to contain Dončić and not much of it worked. Thompson, Payton, Paul, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Jonathan Kuminga, Kevon Looney and Andrew Wiggins all took turns guarding the Mavericks’ star without much success.

Dončić scored 14 points as part of Dallas’ 38-point third quarter.

Even when the Warriors were able to slow him down, Dončić kept finding ways to make a difference. Twice Golden State appeared to have him locked down, only to see the NBA MVP candidate find a way to make alley-oop passes for dunks.

Defense has been somewhat of an issue all season long for Golden State and something the Warriors have to correct if they want to make a run in the West.

Paul shines as starterIn addition to reaching the career scoring milestone, Paul adjusted to playing with the starting unit fine. He had 24 points and six assists with six 3-pointers.

Kerr said two days earlier that Paul was an anchor with the second unit so it will be interesting to see how much longer he remains with the starting group. But on a night when the Warriors’ offense was consistently inconsistent, the 38-year-old stepped up and went 9 of 14 from the floor. He also did fairly well when paired up against Doncic, which is another encouraging sign.

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