Tuesday night marked the third Warriors game that fans were allowed to attend at Chase Center.
Those in attendance probably wish they hadn’t shown up.
Golden State played one of its worst games of the entire season, losing 133-103 to the Dallas Mavericks in a game that was even more lopsided than the final score would indicate.
The game was competitive for approximately three minutes. Stephen Curry hit a 3-pointer with 8:40 left in the first quarter to give the Warriors a 12-11 lead. Golden State didn’t score again until the second quarter.
Over the next nine and a half minutes, the Mavericks went on a jaw-dropping 28-0 run to build a 39-12 lead early in the second quarter. By that point, the only question remaining was how ugly would it get?
Unfortunately, it got pretty ugly. Dallas led by as many as 43 points as the Warriors saw their two-game winning streak come to an abrupt end, falling back to .500 at 31-31 with 10 games remaining.
“Biggest game of the year and it was over before it started,” said a dejected Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “They came out like it was a playoff game and we came out like it was an exhibition game. Very disappointing.”
Dallas star Luka Dončić led all scorers with 39 points in just 28 minutes, adding eight assists and six rebounds. The Mavericks shot 52 percent from the field, including 18 of 35 from 3-point range. They outscored the Warriors 50-34 in the paint.
Stephen Curry led Golden State with 27 points but finished with a -27 rating in 30 minutes of action. Mychal Mulder scored a career-high 26 points, mostly coming in garbage time. As a team, the Warriors shot 41 percent.
“It just stings getting blown out,” Curry said. “It was a perfect storm of everything going wrong tonight.”
A win could have moved Golden State within a game and a half of the Mavericks for the sixth seed in the Western Conference. Instead, the Warriors remained in 10th place and are now almost guaranteed of having to play in the play-in tournament, featuring the seven through 10 seeds.
“I’m disappointed in myself for not having them better prepared,” Kerr said. “I’m disappointed in the way we just didn’t meet the challenge as a group. It’s a shame, but we’ve got 10 games left and we’ve got a lot to play for. We will be better prepared next game. I know that.”
Added Mulder: “That one hurts. I think we all knew that game was important to us, obviously for down the road. But I think the energy was just bad off the jump.”
The brutal loss served as a harsh reminder that the Warriors likely aren’t going anywhere this year. Sure, they might sneak into the playoffs through the play-in tournament, but they are far too inconsistent to make a deep run in the postseason.
We’ve seen this type of flat performance several times this year. Just when you start to think they’ve put something positive together, they suffer a crushing setback like the one we witnessed on Tuesday.
The focus should remain on the big picture, where the Warriors are a franchise heading in the right direction for future seasons. Anything they accomplish this year is a bonus.