Warriors Observations

What we learned as Warriors lose nail-biter to Kyrie, Mavs

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The Warriors came up short in their bid to complete a Texas sweep, but they did move one step closer to securing a top-10 Western Conference playoff seed.

Klay Thompson missed what would have been a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer, and the Mavericks held off a late Golden State flurry to win 108-106 on Friday at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

The loss ended the Warriors’ six-game winning streak and is only their fourth defeat in their last 19 road games.

Golden State (42-35) could have clinched at least a top-10 playoff seed and moved closer to the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference but remain four games up on the Houston Rockets with five games to play.

Stephen Curry scored 28 points and hit a clutch tying 16-foot jumper with 12.4 seconds left before P.J. Washington answered with a layup in traffic for the game-winner.

Thompson scored 16 points, while Brandin Podziemski and Gary Payton II had 14 points apiece. Chris Paul added nine points, eight assists and four steals.

Three days after defeating the Mavs at Chase Center, the Warriors seemed to have things going their way heading into Friday’s game. They were the NBA’s hottest team on the road and have been for some time. Dallas was also playing without star Luka Doncic.

But after leading for most of the first half, Golden State fell behind in the third then made a late surge in the fourth before coming up short.

The Warriors got within 105-104 on a Curry deep 3-pointer with 59 seconds left. After the Mavericks missed, Curry front-rimmed another 3-point attempt then was called for a blocking foul on the other end.

Golden State head coach Steve Kerr challenged the call and was hoping to get it changed to a charge, but the officials reviewed the play and allowed it to remain.

After P.J. Washington made one of two free throws with 22 seconds left, Curry tied the game with a pretty 16-foot jumper. Washington then made a layup with five seconds left before Thompson’s potential game-winner was off.

Here are the takeaways from Friday’s game:

Steph's silent night

Before connecting on a critical 3-pointer with a minute left in the fourth in the fourth quarter, Curry was sputtering through another uneven shooting night,

For the second time this week, the two-time NBA scoring champ was mostly muffled by the Dallas defense.

Curry shot 9 of 23 overall and was 5 of 14 behind the arc. Those were pretty similar stats to what he had against the Mavs on Tuesday – 18 points of 5 of 18 shooting.

A perfect synopsis of Curry’s night came late in the fourth quarter when he had a 3-point attempt blocked then fouled Dallas in the scramble for the rebound. He later shot an air-ball that barely scraped the net.

There’s no need to panic. Curry has went through multiple mini-slumps during the year and eventually broke out. He just needs to re-gain his rhythm soon.

Momentum flips behind bench unit

Following up on their solid effort against the Mavs three days earlier, the Warriors’ bench came up big again in the rematch.

It was the back-ups who provided the needed spark in the first quarter when the starters were struggling and out of sync.

Paul and Podziemski, who have formed a really nice pairing, made significant plays and were the steadying forces that fueled the early comeback. Payton II had a nice block early, and Kevon Looney grabbed seven rebounds in 10 minutes.

Considering that the Warriors had to play without two injured starters, Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga, the team’s depth was challenged. The reserves, as they have most of the season, came through.

Weathering the storm

The Warriors came out looking very flat in the first quarter while the Mavericks were knocking down almost every shot they took.

Dallas led by 16 points midway through the quarter and appeared on its way to a lopsided win. Golden State, which has suffered through a fair share of rough and rocky first quarters this season, quickly flipped the script with the second unit and ended the quarter on with a huge blitz to take a 32-31 lead on Paul’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

That was pivotal because the Mavs had all the momentum for the first six minutes of the game. Playing on the second half of a back-to-back and coming off an emotional victory in Houston on Thursday, it would have been easy for the Dubs to fold up and take the L.

Instead, Golden State showed a lot of grit and fight in coming back and closing the quarter on a 19-2 run.

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