It’s not exactly a hot take to have predicted the Warriors might struggle in Stephen Curry’s absence, and that was exactly what happened on Wednesday, as the Dallas Mavericks blew the champs off the floor by a final score of 114-91.
Now, Curry wasn’t the only Warrior missing, as Festus Ezeli and Leandro Barbosa also sat out, in addition to Harrison Barnes, who still hasn’t returned from an ankle injury, but Steph is obviously the key considering he’s the best player in the league.
In his stead, his offense proved to be hard to replace. Klay Thompson had just 10 points on 4-15 shooting, and he didn’t supplement that with much else, adding a rebound and two assists while drawing just a pair of free throws. Andrew Bogut was 4-4 and had 10 rebounds, but it’s obvious that an offense can’t run through him, at least not anymore. The only Warrior with more than 12 points was Ian Clark, and much of his damage came in fourth-quarter garbage time.
The lead swelled in the second quarter, which began with Golden State down by a manageable eight points. By quarter’s end it was 18, and Dallas didn’t relinquish it after the half.
On the Dallas side, J.J. Barea continued his world takeover, hitting 5-7 threes and 9-12 overall en route to a team-high 23 points. Dirk Nowitzki didn’t have to do anything crazy (6-15 FG, 18 points), as a balanced attack (even excluding Barea, the Mavs were 9-20 from downtown) was enough to sink their short-handed opponent.
Two of just five West teams with a positive point differential, the Mavs continue to hang in the 4-6 range at 19-13, while Golden State “drops” to 29-2. The Warriors close out 2015 tomorrow in Houston.