What we learned as Warriors’ home winning streak snapped originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO – The Warriors on Monday night fell into the same trap that caught them last Jan. 20.
The Indiana Pacers came into Chase Center much as they did last season, with a starting lineup severely compromised by injuries. Four starters were missing last January, two were out on this night.
The Warriors somehow lost in overtime last January – and followed the same script in 112-104 loss to a Pacers squad that could walk through any airport in America without being recognized.
Klay Thompson scored a team-high 28 points, and Jordan Poole tossed in 23 as the Warriors saw their home win streak snapped at 10 games. Stephen Curry had an off night, finishing with just 12 points on 3-of-17 shooting from the field.
Here are three observations from a game in which the Warriors (13-12) led only briefly:
Athleticism disadvantage was obvious
The Pacers spent much of the night feeding young, springy, rangy big men, allowing them to tower over the Warriors and throw down power dunks.
While Jalen Smith and Isaiah Jackson were enjoying their share of highlights, the Warriors’ response was, more often than not, limited to watching helplessly. From below.
This was a game in which the Warriors could have used Andrew Wiggins, who was out with right adductor tightness. Jonathan Kuminga tried to keep up, but fouled out in 23 minutes.
This was a game in which the Warriors, dare we say, could have used James Wiseman, who left Chase Center early in the evening after practicing with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.
The difference in athleticism was stark and telling and fatal. And it won’t be the last time the Warriors face this problem.
Consequences of inconsistency
The Warriors spent the first 16 minutes in a fog, jacking up mindless shots, committing turnovers and ignoring defensive principles.
By the time they woke up, they were four minutes into the second with 24 points to Indiana’s 40.
But, boy, did the Warriors wake up. They hopped aboard their defense and rode it to a 20-2 run – featuring back-to-back-to-back triples by Thompson – that gave them their first lead, 44-42, with 3:40 remaining in the half.
Go time, right? Well, no.
Rather than fade, the Pacers flourished. They closed the half with a 17-6 run, taking a 59-50 lead into the intermission.
After limiting Indiana to two points over a span of more than four minutes, the Warriors gave up 17 points in less than four minutes. They abandoned the defense that got them back into the game and paid a stiff price.
Hot Curry cooling off
For more than a month into the season, Curry’s efficiency was stuck on preposterous. Only three times between Halloween and Thanksgiving did he fail to shoot 50 percent from the field.
How long could the most decorated player in franchise history sustain it? Well, the cooling has arrived.
Curry totaled a season-low 12 points, shooting 3-of-17 from the field, including 2-of-10 from beyond the arc. This was the fifth consecutive game in which he shot less than 50 percent from the field, and he’s shooting 35.2 percent in the first three games of this month.
RELATED: Warriors’ biggest challenge will be maintaining focus
This almost certainly is a temporary condition, hardly enough to indicate a slump.
But the superman impersonation is over, at least for now, which is not to suggest it can’t come back, even as soon as the next game.
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