The Golden State Warriors came into the American Airlines Center confident that they could take down the Dallas Mavericks, who held the same record at 9-6 on the season. Despite that, a poor performance from former Warrior Monta Ellis, and a furious fourth-quarter push, the Warriors fell to 9-7 in a close game. So, what contributed to that end and what can we learn?
The biggest contributing factor to the loss in terms of player performance was Klay Thompson’s off night. He put up a respectable 20 points, but managed it on a less than stellar shooting night, going 5-of-16 from the floor. Harrison Barnes turned in a lackluster day offensively as well, going 3-of-11 from the field. Stephen Curry dropped 29 points on the Mavericks as well as shooting a slightly better (but still not great) 9-of-19. David Lee was the only high scoring Warrior to shoot at least 50 percent from the field (turning in 20 points). The Mavericks didn’t shoot overly well either, shooting 44 percent as a team compared to the Dubs’ 42. The flaws are easy to note, but the biggest factor here was the loss of Andre Iguodala.
The lack of the Warriors’ lockdown perimeter defender makes it harder to hide Curry’s defensive deficiencies (try to say that ten times fast), and brings more pressure on Barnes and Thompson to take over his role. In addition, it makes it necessary for younger role players to step into greater roles before they are ready, hurting overall team effectiveness. Further yet, he’s been on fire lately on the offensive side of the ball as well throwing fantastic passes and scoring at a higher clip than he has in recent memory. His absence is a major blow to this team.
There are definitely bright spots here, though. Nemanja Nedovic made some good contributions, adding an assist and four points, showing he can get to the rim and draw fouls when he gets aggressive and confident. The 13-0 run in the fourth also shows that this team is never truly out of a game. The Mavericks are far from elite, but when the Warriors are short a key player on both ends, some thought they were in trouble against this upstart Texas squad. The Dubs showed that they’re never out of a game, regardless of the deficit. Now, they look forward to visiting the Oklahoma City Thunder who will try to strike vengeance for their last-second loss not too long ago. Without Iguodala, the Warriors have their work cut out for them.
I, for one, can’t wait to see the OKC game. And I’m even more excited for when Iggy returns.