Warriors Run Out Of Gas Against Nets Before They Can Make History

VIDEO: Nets snuff out Warriors

NEW YORK – No team in NBA history had ever swept a road trip of seven games or more.

There’s a reason for that, and for why that bit of trivia still applies after Wednesday’s game in Brooklyn. Playing seven road games in a row is really hard.

The Golden State Warriors made it through six straight wins – including a victory in Miami last Thursday – but didn’t have enough gas in the tank to get win No. 7 on Wednesday, falling to the Brooklyn Nets, 102-98.

As much fun as it is to watch Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson launch 3s, to watch the second-best passing forward in the league, to watch David Lee‘s brilliance on the pick-and-roll, and to watch Andrew Bogut‘s craftiness inside, the Warriors’ 10-game winning streak and 19-3 record with both Curry and Andre Iguodala healthy was about defense.

During the streak, the Warriors scored 103.4 points per 100 possessions, a little over the league average for offensive efficiency. But they allowed just 93.3, a little over what the Indiana Pacers — the No. 1 defense in the league — have allowed this season. In the 22 games that Curry and Iguodala had played, they had allowed 94.9. Overall, they ranked fourth in defensive efficiency entering Wednesday’s action.

And it was on defense where fatigue affected them most in Brooklyn. The Warriors got off to a hot shooting start, held the Nets to just 16 points on their first 24 possessions of the night, and led by 16 late in the first quarter. But over the final 12 1/2 minutes of the first half, Brooklyn scored 43 points in 26 possessions.

The Warriors were a step slow on most possessions, two steps slow on others. Joe Johnson and Shaun Livingston seemingly strolled to the rim on a few occasions. And really, as the Nets took a seven-point lead into halftime, it looked like the Warriors (and the streak) were done.

But they fought back, took the lead late in the third quarter, and went down to the wire. And again, they just didn’t have enough in the tank, shooting 1-for-8 (0-for-5 from 3-point range) in the final four minutes.

The Warriors’ lack of depth certainly contributed to their fatigue. Back-up guards Toney Douglas and Kent Bazemore had an atrocious stretch in the second quarter, so Curry and Thompson played the entire second half. Curry led all scorers with 34 points, but went 0-for-8 from 3-point range after making his first two bombs in the first period.

And that’s the issue with the Warriors going forward. They’ve been terrific when they’ve been healthy, but their lack of a competent back-up for Curry could wear him down by April. So it’s no wonder they’d love to acquire Andre Miller or Kyle Lowry.

Still, a 6-1 trip is impressive. A top-five defense will win them a lot of games. A potent offense could help them deep in the playoffs. And the toughness they showed in Brooklyn on Thursday will help them in big spots down the line. Though the end-of-the-trip fatigue was obvious to any observer, the Warriors weren’t using it as an excuse.

“It’s a long road trip,” Curry said, “but we can’t let that be an excuse for how the game ended. We have to find a way to win.”

“Give them credit,” added head coach Mark Jackson. “They got in a rhythm, put us in tough situations with their pick-and-rolls, and they made plays.”

Indeed, the Nets deserve credit. They’re playing their best basketball of the season and have found some success with a small lineup. Now they have the longest winning streak in the league at four games. Three of the wins have come against teams with winning records and two have come without Deron Williams.

But this game was as much about the Warriors’ schedule as it was about how well the Nets have played in 2014. Seven games in seven cities over 11 days is rough, especially when the trip ends with a back-to-back in Milwaukee and Brooklyn.

“It was a frustrating way to end the streak,” Lee said, “but overall, a 6-1 road trip is very positive.”

17 Comments

  1. Gillsy says:

    I agree love Curry but is turnovers are too high. But when you play 40 plus minutes every night what do you expect. The biggest disappointment is Barnes he has not provided a affective scoring option, this has resulted in the team having to play the starters a lot. If they are going to go deep they need Barnes to click, so Iggy can play point and give Curry more rest. Or get another back up point.

  2. Andylx says:

    Warriors are still one piece away. One solid bench player would make a huge difference.

    • slider821 says:

      yep, we thought it would be barnes but he has not matured into the offensive weapon we thought. He cannot create for himself and needs to be set up. Last year with the starters, that was OK. This year he’s playing off the bench, rightfully so, and isnt productive since the bench has no decent playmaker. If Warriors get an offensive playmaking PG, the bench will improve two-fold.

  3. mrrg says:

    Give Steph’s younger brother a shot.

  4. Warriors have all the fire power in the world to compete with any team in the nba. It’s always been a matter of consistency with this group though. they’ve got to find a way to maintain full efficiency, and I agree that it starts with the bench.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Remember how Thompson started the season on fire but then cooled off. We still got a whole half-of-a-season to go. A lot of changes are going to happen in the playoff seedings in both conferences. Minnesota will probably take the Warriors’ spot in the playoff picture after 82 games are played. That’s what I predict.

  5. Hank says:

    Lol: So it’s no wonder they’d love to acquire Andre Miller or Kyle Lowry.”, yeah b/c Kyle Lowry would love to go play backup after proving countless times he’s a certified starter. Why don’t the Warriors dream of getting Rondo or Tony Parker as a backup as well.

    • just think about it says:

      You make a good point but look at Kevin Martin when he was at OKC Luis Scola who is with the Pacers. O.J Mayo Milwakee. Even Jeremy Lin. They were starters at one point but they want to win Championships. Reason why Scola is with Pacers. He was a starter with Houston but now a bench player with the Pacers so if the player wants to be on a contending team they should be content with the position they play. But if he doesnt want to trade because he wants to be a starter then I dunno. Kyle Lowry is a good fit as a Sixth Man and could give Curry a lot of deserved rest

  6. watcher says:

    Curry must be flirting with having the most turnovers ever in a regular season.

    • Michael DeMarco says:

      Curry is averaging 4.4 per game. Artis Gilmore holds the record at 366 for the season. It comes down to how many games Curry plays. At his current rate and a full 82 games (not happening) he would have 361. So you raised a good point.

  7. PetrGSW says:

    True to that, but we need a back up point badly, I’d love if the Hinrich trade was executed, Im just not sure who for…

  8. aa says:

    Go Nets!!!! One game at a Time!! NEXT Beat MIAMI

  9. dustydreamnz says:

    Huge effort, not long ago they had plenty of critics. Must say I’m surprised a great team hasn’t won 7 road trip games.

  10. doesn’t really matter…the warriors are after the championship