By Matthew Harrington
What a difference a month makes. The Golden State Warriors started January smack dab in the middle of what would be a 10-game win streak, the second-longest in franchise history. In Tuesday night’s 91-75 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats at Oracle Arena the Warriors opened the second month on the calendar on a far less meritorious note. A 75-point output courtesy of a 31.2 shooting percentage against Charlotte (22-28) represented single-game lows in both categories for Golden State this season. The usually sharp-shooting Warriors (29-20) nailed only four shots from beyond the arc on 20 attempts in a night when the home team hoop had an air-tight lid over it.
No Warrior reached double-digits in field goals, with Stephen Curry (8 for 18), Klay Thompson (5 for 13) and David Lee (3-13) all struggling to make the baskets fall in front of the sell-out crowd. Curry’s 17 points topped all Warriors player, while Thompson added 12.
Al Jefferson led the Bobcats to the win on a game-high 30 points and Bobcat-best 13 rebounds for the double-double and guard Gerald Henderson dropped 17. Warriors center Andrew Bogut pulled down 15 boards to lead all players.
Things appeared to be going the Warriors way early, with the home team leading 7-5 just under three minutes into play, but Charlotte held the hosts to only three field goals to close out the first quarter holding a 26-13 lead. Golden State struggled to gain ground in the second 12 minutes, cutting the deficit to nine points a handful of times, but couldn’t sustain momentum. They faced a 51-39 Bobcat lead at the half.
The second half was another 24 minutes of futility for the Warriors, as Charlotte outscored Golden State 40-36 to maintain the lead and sweep the season series against. Charlotte is now 10-9 in its last 19 meetings with Golden State.
The loss proved another example for Coach Mark Jackson who called out the Warriors, losers of 6 of their last 10, for playing down to the ability of a lesser opponent during the tough stretch. Dually disappointing for Jackson’s squad is the missed opportunity for the Warriors, despite their struggles to move past the Phoenix Suns into second place in the Pacific Division. Phoenix, entering play Tuesday night a half-game up on the Warriors, lost earlier in the night 101-92 at home to the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls will travel further west to square off with Golden State at Oracle Arena Thursday night. After the Bulls come to town, the Warriors hit the road, heading to the desert to face the team directly above them in the standings for a Saturday night contest in Phoenix.