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Curry drops 35, but rest of Warriors look off in loss to Nuggets


© Isaiah J. Downing | 2021 Jan 14


The Warriors figured out how to get Stephen Curry going. It was everyone else who was the problem.

After consecutive disappointing offensive outputs while facing a box-and-1 defensive scheme, Curry broke out for 35 points (14-of-23, 5-of-11 from three) vs. the defensively challenged Nuggets, but it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome an otherwise sleepy performance in Thursday’s 114-104 loss to Denver.

It’s the first time this season that the Warriors have lost a game in which Steph scores more than 30 points (5-1). His seven turnovers played a part in that, more than a few due to swarming double teams that are certain to follow him all season.

The Warriors trailed by at least 10 points for nearly the entire contest, giving up a series of buckets to the Nuggets on the heels of every run. Perhaps it was the altitude that affected Golden State on the first of their three-game road trip, but the Warriors looked a step-slow from the jump, and were made to pay by the Nuggets’ No. 2 ranked offense.

Early MVP candidate Nikola Jokic was again fantastic, posting a triple-double (23-14-10) which he’s currently averaging. The Nuggets crushed the Warriors with Jokic in the high pick-and-roll all night, his passes and subsequent ball movement out of the action leading to seven Denver players in double-figures, handing Golden State a death by a thousand cuts.

The Nuggets are a good enough offensive team to make you pay when you are locked in. For whatever reason the Warriors weren’t. It’s a curious development considering defense was the one constant during Golden State’s seven game home stand. The primary issue was switching, specifically, not doing it quickly enough.

It was a particularly bizarre night for the Warriors’ best defensive player, Draymond Green, who did an awful lot of this, especially in the first half.

Green just seemed out of it, managing just one point (0-for-2) on the offensive end, one on occasion passing up a wide open layup in the third quarter to James Wiseman who couldn’t complete the contested dunk. It’s important to keep in mind that Green is still only a few weeks removed from returning to the lineup after contracting COVID, a return that would’ve been sooner had the virus not affected his stamina so acutely. Perhaps that was a contributing factor on Thursday.

If the defense was issue 1A, the second unit was 1B. Another area that had been consistently good during the home stand, the group (Curry-Looney-Paschall-Bazemore-Oubre/Wiggins) tanked on Tuesday vs. the Pacers. It was expected they’d right the ship with the return of Eric Paschall to the lineup. That didn’t happen. The group that closed the first and third quarters going -16. Golden State lost by 10. Curry-Looney-Paschall-Bazemore-Oubre/Wiggins

It was also a rough one for Andrew Wiggins, who managed 16 points but faded in and out of the game, missing all four three-point attempts. It’s nights like this that drove Wolves fans crazy, Wiggins flashing incredible athleticism a few times (he had another impressive block) but disappearing completely for long stretches.

Speaking incredible athleticism, Wiseman didn’t disappoint with his nightly mind-blowing highlight.

Wiseman had a pretty solid game overall, doing an admirable job guarding Jokic on the block, while chipping in an efficient 16 points. Wiseman did so without taking a three-pointer, a facet of his game that has strangely fallen by the wayside over the past few weeks. With Oubre continuing to shoot so poorly (3-of-10, but all three pointers!) Wiseman may want to chuck a few more when they share the floor.

Through 12 games the Warriors sit at a respectable 6-6, a three way tie (Spurs, Nuggets) for seventh in the Western Conference. Because Friday’s game with the Nuggets has been postponed due to COVID, the Warriors have three days off before facing the defending champion Lakers (10-3, first in the West) in Los Angeles on Monday.

 

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