Stephen Curry's hot fourth quarter not enough in Golden State Warriors' 103-99 loss to Dallas Mavericks

Try as he might, Stephen Curry just couldn't lift the Golden State Warriors to victory on Wednesday night. - Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

An ugly game that is best forgotten, despite a game-high 29 points from Stephen Curry.

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you missed the Golden State Warriors' 103-99 loss to the Dallas Mavericks last night, please don't bother reading on: just make a mental note of the score, know that the Warriors still haven't won the back end of a back-to-back this season (0-4), and enjoy the holiday however you see fit.

If, like me, you endured it last night and had a chance to sleep it off, hopefully we're in agreement that the sky is not falling and we can just wait until tomorrow's game against Oklahoma City to see how they respond.

If you watched it, hopped on a red eye flight to your Thanksgiving destination or something and dwelled on it at the expense of sleep...well, let's work through this together.

Thankfully, GSoM tradition has a built in focus on positives with our Warrior Wonder "award". So let's start there.

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I think there's a legitimate debate over whether Stephen Curry is a superstar, if for no other reason because there are at least two legitimate - and overlapping - ways of defining the term.

One way to think through the question is in terms of celebrity status in society - is he a household name or recognizable enough that he can't go outside without getting mobbed? Another way is in terms of the player's ability to will his team into a position to win even when the odds are stacked against them; not only a player who's the best on their team, but a player who consistently emerges as a force that can fundamentally change the outcome of a game.

If you're still undecided as to whether Stephen Curry is a superstar, his 13-point fourth quarter last night - even in a loss - is worthy of your consideration.

The Warriors had no business being within four points of the Mavericks after the way the first 45 minutes of that game went. The primary reason they were that close was Curry.

Curry reaffirmed in last night's game that whenever a team has someone on the court who can shoot threes like I shoot the mini basketballs at the arcade - just sort of throwing the ball toward the right spot almost without looking - they have a chance to win. It wasn't just crazy threes off the dribble though - he drove and got himself shots in the paint and even to the line. And it's not that he has to make every play, but that he's a threat to be accounted for at every moment as soon as he crosses halfcourt that forces opponents to direct all their attention to him.

Yes, it's mind-boggling that he only had one of the seven shots the Warriors put up in the final 2:30, but once again it was his presence on the floor that gave us hope and nearly rescued the team from this loss. Unfortunately, they just had entirely too many turnovers to actually win this game.

Key statistic: Mavs score 30 points off 19 Warriors turnovers

I honestly wish I could forget the first quarter when Monta Ellis had six of his game-high 10 assists while the Warriors had six turnovers: that was ugly and the Warriors looked like a team that was on the back end of a back-to-back.

The problem was the turnovers never stopped and, moreover, they continued the trend of committing careless turnovers: ill-advised passes for steals or just awful passes out of bounds. Unrecorded in the box score were all the times the ball just rolled around the floor as every one on the team seemed to have butter fingers - the thing was uglier than the box suggests. And for a team that can play such beautiful basketball when they're clicking all cylinders, it's a rather perplexing problem (though they really need to rethink all of the iso-post-ups because...yeah...they're not a good look).

That's not a "lesson" to build on: you're not going to win basketball games at any level just throwing possessions away the way the Warriors did last night. But I'm not going to fuel the flames of panic too much here: all of those careless turnovers sucked and isolation post-ups have gotten excruciating, but the Warriors are obviously banged up and were on the second end of a back-to-back in that loss. Being down by nine at halftime was almost a "moral victory" (if you believe such a thing exists) and finishing the game only trailing by four with a chance to win in the final minute was remarkable, all things considered - losses should never be considered acceptable for those that consider their team a contender, but they Curry really pulled a rabbit out of a hat to keep it as close as it was.

This team is plenty talented, but they're learning quickly this season that they're not talented enough to just show up and win games - that's an experience many teams have to go through before making the next step up the league's hierarchy.

The bottom line is that there are still a ton of questions to be answered about this team and many of them can't be answered until the roster they assembled during the offseason is actually at full strength. This one loss? Meh - whatever.

Notes

  • One interesting development of late is Nemanja Nedovic's rise in the Warriors' rotation. And while there seems to be some difference of opinion about whether that's a good move for the team, with Toney Douglas and Andre Iguodala out it's clear right now that Nedovic is at least more capable of running an offense than Kent Bazemore is.

    Nedovic is still a rookie and still adjusting to U.S. basketball so we can't expect him to come out there and be a dynamic playmaker that makes an offensively challenged second unit potent. But he's athletic enough to compete, he's extremely confident with the ball, he's awfully poised for a rookie, and he can get the ball to open players (when they're not trying to force an iso). Down the line with a bit more seasoning, it's obvious why they felt he was worth a first round pick.
  • The Warriors had nothing to deter Dirk Nowitzki. You probably already knew that so let's just look forward to the next game.
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