OAKLAND, Calif. — At least it wasn’t in the playoffs. Truth tell, if the Warriors played as indifferently through the season as they did Saturday night, there wouldn’t be any playoffs.
But it was only one game, one inexplicable game that gets to the mystery of sport — how can a team with that talent and record be so terrible?
Because, you say, the main man, Stephen Curry, was given the night off. More likely, it was because the rest of the team took the night off.
Hey, the Dubs have back-to-back games at Oracle: Saturday night, when they were battered by the Dallas Mavericks 126-91 — they’re saying it’s the most one-sided defeat in Steve Kerr’s four and a half seasons as coach — and then Sunday night against the Detroit Pistons.
“We have to try and get back at it Sunday,” said Kerr. “There is nothing else you can do.”
Nothing except wonder why a team with the players and the titles — and the knowledge of how those players won those titles, three NBA championships in the past four seasons — doesn’t perform with urgency.
You know the explanations, excuses really. The second home game after a tough and winning road trip. Not taking seriously an opponent that came in with a 28-44 record as did the Mavs (the Warriors were 49-22; they’re now 49-23, of course). Dallas is a difficult matchup for the Dubs. There was a full moon. There was, but it’s doubtful that any effect on the Warriors.
The absence of Curry? Presumably with Steph on the floor, the offense would have been better. He’s averaging 27 points a game and makes 3-pointers from everywhere. The Warriors were 4 for 30 on threes Friday night.
But it wasn’t so much what the Warriors didn’t do on offense, it was what the Mavericks did, basically what the Warriors couldn’t stop them from doing.
At halftime, when for all intents the game was decided, Dallas was shooting 59 percent and had a 74-46 lead. By the end the percentage had dropped to 53 percent, but the margin had increased to 35 points.
“Defensively,” said Kerr, “we were not connected. We were not talking. We got out to that slow start. Dallas is a hard team to guard. They execute well. I think they made 12 threes in the first half, 21 for the game. A lot of miscommunication. We just couldn’t pull together after the slow start.
“We just have to flush this one down the toilet and move on (Sunday). Not much else to do.”
Except wonder why as they attempt to become the first team to win three championships in succession since the 2000-01-02 Lakers — Pat Riley copyrighted the term “threepeat” at an earlier time — the Warriors have played so many awful home games this season.
They were whomped by Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, the Celtics and even the Lakers. But nothing quite like Friday night, obviously.
“You kind of sensed the energy wasn’t there,” said Draymond Green. “That’s kind of normal in a game like that. (But) I didn’t sense we would lose by 40.”
Let’s not get carried away, Draymond. It was only 35.
“It is weird,” said Green, responding to a question. “You are supposed to win at home, and you expect to win at home. We’ve had quite a few letdowns this year.”
Klay Thompson, who didn’t exactly compensate for the absence of Curry (Klay was 4-for-13 overall, 0-for-4 on threes and minus 39 in the plus-minus stat when in the game) said the Warriors let one get away. Really, it was pulled away with great force. They trailed from start to finish.
Asked how wins at home impact getting the home court advantage for the playoffs — last year, Houston held the edge in the Western Conference — Thompson answered, “I don’t know. I feel like we lost a lot of home games this year for our standards. I don’t think we’re that bad at home.”
They certainly were Saturday night.