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sport / / NBCSBA: What we learned as Steph-less Warriors struggle in loss to Spurs

o NBCSBA: What we learned as Steph-less Warriors struggle in loss to SpursRobin Miller

NBCSBA: What we learned as Steph-less Warriors struggle in loss to Spurs


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From: robin.mi...@invalid.invalid (Robin Miller)
Subject: NBCSBA: What we learned as Steph-less Warriors struggle in loss to
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 2024 17:40:46 -0400
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 by: Robin Miller - Sun, 10 Mar 2024 21:40 UTC

What we learned as Steph-less Warriors struggle in loss to Spurs

By Michael Wagaman

• Published March 9, 2024

Playing without two-time NBA scoring champ Stephen Curry, the Warriors
looked out of sync most of the night and never really found a consistent
rhythm on offense, falling to the sputtering San Antonio Spurs 126-113
on Saturday at Chase Center.

Curry is sidelined with a right ankle sprain injury that he suffered in
the final minutes of Thursday’s loss to the Chicago Bulls. His absence
was felt throughout the game Saturday, as Golden State fell behind early
and never recovered.

Klay Thompson did his best to fill some of the offensive void created by
Curry’s absence despite getting into early foul trouble. Thompson came
off the bench to score 27 points on the strength of five 3-pointers.

Chris Paul, who got the start at point guard with Curry missing, added
10 points, nine assists and three steals. Draymond Green filled up the
stat sheet with seven points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals
and a block. Trayce Jackson-Davis and Andrew Wiggins each scored 11, and
Jonathan Kuminga finished with 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting with three
rebounds and an assist in 18 minutes

Golden State also was without one of its key reserves, Gary Payton II,
who sat out because of an illness.

No one should be feeling too well after this latest setback.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr was forced to adjust his rotations again, and
he trotted out the 20th different lineup that he has used during the
2023-24 NBA season.

Jackson-Davis got the start at center, which freed up Green to move to
power forward while Wiggins went back to the bench. Brandon Podziemski
started with Paul in the backcourt while Kuminga got the nod at forward.

Without Curry, however, it really didn’t seem to matter who was out
there for the Warriors (33-30).

San Antonio (14-50) led 62-43 at halftime and were up by 17 heading into
the fourth, then rolled to the victory.

The Warriors have lost all four games this season in which Curry has not
played. Since the 2014-15 season, Golden State is 64-105 (.379) without

It also marked the first time since Jan. 20, 2023, that the Warriors
haven’t had either Curry or Thompson in the starting lineup, according
to Elias Sports Bureau.

The two teams play each other again on Monday in San Antonio.

Here are the takeaways from Saturday’s game:

Stepping in for Steph

You can replace his body on the court, but there’s really no replacing
the type of production that Curry provides on a nightly basis -- and the
Warriors continue to find out how difficult life can be without him.
They’re now 0-4 this season without No. 30 able to do his thing.

Paul and Podziemski split the point guard chores for most of the game,
and the two did a decent job spreading the ball around.

The problem, however, was that the Warriors never had a rhythm to their
offense. They got plenty of open looks, especially early, but couldn’t
get much to fall. That allowed the Spurs to race out to a double-digit
lead in the second quarter.

Golden State’s shooting issues without Curry were so bad that the Spurs
frequently dropped into a zone defense, basically daring Golden State to
make a shot from the outside.

As most of Dub Nation knows, Curry does so much more than score. His
quickness and ability to get to the rack creates space for his teammates
to make plays. Without him, Golden State’s offense simply had no flow.

Curry is almost certainly going to miss Monday’s rematch in San Antonio,
so the Warriors better figure something out and do it fast.

Missed opportunity

This one stung even worse than the loss to the Bulls.

On paper, this was a game that the Warriors were counting on to have.
The Spurs own the worst record (14-50) in the Western Conference and had
dropped seven of their previous 10 games

San Antonio was also without Victor Wembanyama, the No. 1 overall pick
who is also nursing a sore right ankle.

It had all the makings of a trap game and wound up being just that.

The Spurs basically beat the Warriors at their own game. San Antonio
shot 17 of 33 (51.5 percent) behind the arc while Golden State shot 10
of 30 on threes.

A win would have moved the Warriors into a tie with the idle Los Angeles
Lakers for ninth place in the West. Now, they’re a full game behind Los
Angeles and 2.5 games back of the Dallas Mavericks, who sit in the No. 8

TJD as a starter

Kerr had talked about the need to get Jackson-Davis some additional
minutes to prepare the rookie for the NBA playoffs, and the Warriors
coach thought the rookie would give Paul more opportunities for lob
passes down low.

While the CP3-TJD combo didn’t connect offense, Jackson-Davis had a
decent overall effort with the exception of his free-throw shooting (1
of 5).

Jackson-Davis showed what kind of an impact he can make when he got an
early block on Spurs’ 6-foot-11 center Zach Collins then snagged the
rebound. Later in the first quarter, he hauled in an alley-oop pass from
Podziemski and slammed it in to give the Warriors a 21-20 lead.

Jackson-Davis made all five shots he took to go with six rebounds and
three blocks. It’s the 11th time this season that the athletic young
forward has had multiple blocks in a game, the most by a Golden State
rookie since James Wiseman did it in 12 games as a rookie during the
2020-21 NBA season.

Jackson-Davis still has a lot of improving to do, but with Kerr
committed to getting him on the court more as the season heads down the
stretch, he should continue to develop into a solid and very athletic
big man in the NBA.

sport / / NBCSBA: What we learned as Steph-less Warriors struggle in loss to Spurs


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