Photo credit: @warriors
By Jerry Feitelberg
Oakland- The Dallas Mavericks, who have the second-worst record (28-44) in the Western Conference, started strong and wiped the floor with the Golden State Warriors. The Mavericks led from start to finish as they beat the Warriors on both ends of the court. They dominated on offense and dominated on defense. They made 21 three-point shots, one shy of the franchise record 22, and held the Warriors to four. That was the game in a nutshell. The Mavs’ 63-12 point advantage won the game for them.
To be fair, the Warriors were without Steph Curry, Andrew Bogut, and Shaun Livingston. The Warriors needed someone to step up and fill the void left by Curry not playing. That did not happen as Klay Thompson had a terrible shooting night and exited the contest with eight points.
The Mavs pounded the Warriors in the first 24 minutes of playing time. They led the Warriors 74-46. Kevin Durant with 18 and DeMarcus Cousins with 14 were the only Warrior players in double figures. Klay had 4, Draymond Green, and Quinn Cook each had 3. Jonas Jerebko, Alfonzo McKinnie, and Andre Iguodala failed to put a single point on the board. The Mavs’ 40-year old wonder, Dirk Nowitzki, who is retiring at the end of the season, tallied 10. Luka Doncic, who will be named Rookie of the Year at the end of the season, knocked down 15, and Maxi Kleber had 16. The Mavs shot 59% from the floor, and they were 13-for-27 from three-point range. The Warriors made two threes in 17 tries, and shot 36.7% from the field. Those numbers will not win games for a team.
It was a horrible first half for Golden State. As mentioned above, they had no offense, no defense, and players that needed to step up their game, failed to do so.
The Mavs kept their mojo going in the third period. The Warriors fell behind 102-65 when Warriors head coach Steve Kerr raised the white flag of surrender. It reminded me of the time many years ago when Roberto Duran stopped his fight by yelling to the referee “No Mas.” There were two minutes and 29 seconds left in the third period. The bench players finished the game, and they didn’t do much except run out the clock. The Mavs won 126-91.
Game Notes and Stats: With the loss, the Warriors fall 1/2 game behind the Denver Nuggets for the best record in the Western Conference and home-court advantage. The Warriors have played better on the road than at home, and it may not be a problem. The Houston Rockets had the advantage last season, but the Warriors were able to beat the Rockets twice in Houston after trailing in the series 3 games to 2.
The Mavs had five players in double figures. Doncic led the onslaught with a triple-double. He had 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. He made four threes. Nowitzki finished with 21, and with the Basketball Hall of Fame in his future, made 5 threes. Kleber had 16, Ryan Broekhoff 17, and Try Burke 13. The Warriors’ Kevin Durant had 25, and Marcus Cousins was second with 19. Draymond Green 6, Quinn Cook 7 and Kevon Looney 12. The rest of the bench added just 14, and most of the points came in garbage time.
The Warriors, winners of four of the last five and playing superior defense, looked like a team from the era when the Warriors were so bad and barely won 18 or 19 games in a season. They did not look like a championship team Saturday night. They have lost to two teams that they should have beaten. They lost to the worst team in the conference, the Phoenix Suns, on March 10th. It was by four points, but it still was a shocking loss. They lost to the team with the second-worst record, but this time it was by 35 points.
Up Next: The Warriors have to regroup as they play the Detroit Pistons Sunday night. The Pistons beat the Warriors in Detroit earlier in the season. The Pistons currently hold the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference. They are led by Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. Game time will be at 5:30 pm.