By Matthew Harrington
The Golden State Warriors fell just over four minutes shy of history Wednesday night, getting tangled up by the Brooklyn Nets (14-21) at the Barclays Center 102-98 to snap a 10-game win streak, including winning the last six consecutive road games. A victory would have matched the longest streak in Warriors history, set during the 1971-72 season. The ’71-’72 team got just 5 of their 11 wins on the road while the current Warriors (24-14) boasted seven-straight road victories, including a win in Denver December 23rd before returning home for a pair then returning to the road again for the current stretch of travel. It also would have been the NBA’s first 7-0 uninterrupted road trip.
Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson dueled for the game-high in points, with Curry coming out on top with 34 points to Johnson’s 27. David Lee netted 20 points for the Warriors and Andray Blatche grabbed 17 off the bench for Brooklyn. Nets forward Mirza Teletovic had a game-best 10 rebounds, while Andrew Bogut’s nine led the Dubs.
For the second time in two nights, the Warriors struggled to establish dominance against a struggling team. The Warriors came back from an early Milwaukee lead Tuesday to complete a 101-80 blowout for their 10th-straight win, matching the most wins in a row by a Warriors team since the 1975 championship team. In Brooklyn Wednesday night the Warriors again flirted with disaster, spotting the Nets, who entered the game with an 8-9 record at home, to a 59-52 halftime lead.
Golden State managed to chip away at the Nets lead, outscoring the home team 24-16 in the third quarter. A Harrison Barnes three-pointer with just 32 seconds left in the third frame gave the Warriors their first lead of the second half 76-75. Kevin Garnett put the Nets back on top on a lay-up 12 seconds in to the final quarter. Garnett, fouled on the play by Draymond Green, converted the and-one for a 78-76 edge.
The two teams went shot-for-shot down to the wire, with no team making consecutive field goals for the first eight minutes in the final 12 minutes of regulation. The Warriors gained ground and took a one-point lead after Andrei Kirilenko missed a second free throw after hitting the first. Curry took a driving layup to the lane for the 88-87 lead with 6:48 left of game time. The Warriors lead grew to a second-half high of four points at 93-89 when Klay Thompson nailed a trey off a David Lee feed with 4:05 to go. Brooklyn outscored the Warriors 13-5 down the stretch, all but two Nets points coming on free throws, to halt the Warriors winning ways in the final game of the road trip. The Warriors ended the night with 27 personal fouls to the Nets 20.
The Warriors return home for a Friday night tilt against the Boston Celtics for the first game at Oracle Arena in the New Year. It’s also Golden State’s first game following a loss since a December 21st they demolished the Lakers 102-83 after suffering an embarrassing 102-104 loss to the short-handed Spurs just two earlier. It’s also the Warriors first home game since December 27, before they started their longest road trip of the season spanning seven cities in 11 days. When the Dubs last took the Oracle court just days after a win in Denver for a Christmas showdown with the Clippers, the Warriors were barely in the playoff picture, standing at eighth place in the Western Conference. By virtue of nine wins in their last ten, the Warriors now sit a game back of the Los Angeles Clippers for the Pacific Division lead and a fourth-place ranking.