The Warriors are no longer undefeated. Leaving the Bay on November 29th, they won their first six of seven games before falling to the Bucks on Saturday. Dealing with various injuries, illnesses, and a whole lot of fatigue, the Dubs finally have some time to recuperate and regroup at home for the next few weeks. Let's take a look at each game of the road trip, and how the Warriors' outlook for the future has changed with their first loss and return home.
November 30th: Warriors defeat Utah Jazz 106-103
The Warriors proceeded through their entire road trip without their starting small forward Harrison Barnes. Against a young Jazz team, they ground out a tough win thanks to an All-NBA effort by Draymond Green and clutch heroics by Stephen Curry, despite a great game by Utah's monster frontcourt. Check out our recap here.
December 2nd: Warriors defeat Charlotte Hornets 116-99
On Stephen Curry's Dad Appreciation Night, Steph showed his hometown how good he's become: he finished with 40 points, including 24 points straight for the Warriors. Even though Charlotte's surprised so far this season, they had no answer for Steph's hot hand. We were also blessed with Bay Area hero Jeremy Lin's hair, and no starters for the entire fourth quarter. Check out our recaps here and here.
December 5th: Warriors defeat Toronto Raptors 112-109
With Andrew Bogut out with back spasms, the Warriors came into Toronto without 40% of their starting lineup. Luckily, Stephen Curry was amazing for the billionth time this season, outscoring the incredible Kyle Lowry 44 points to 41. Even here, the fatigue of the road trip had already set in: lazy turnovers, lackluster bench play, and slower play had manifested into their play. The Warriors, though, still had enough in the tank to pull it out in the clutch, in what was probably the most exciting game of the road trip. Check out our recap here.
December 6th: Warriors defeat Brooklyn Nets 114-98
Even on the back end of a back-to-back, the Warriors ran into their game with Brooklyn with flair. But for some reason, Billy King constructed the Nets to be the worst team that can actually contend with the Warriors, and they brought it back in the third quarter due to solid play from Thaddeus Young and Jarrett Jack. Surprisingly, the Warriors pulled away in the fourth quarter because of the bench squad, with Marreese Speights, Leandro Barbosa, and Festus Ezeli sparking a run. Check out our recap here.
December 8th: Warriors defeat Indiana Pacers 131-123
In the most-hyped game of the road trip, many analysts predicted a Warriors loss to the red-hot Pacers and non-Steph MVP candidate Paul George. But in the first half, the Warriors absolutely dominated: Klay hit 9 threes, the defense was suffocating, the passing on point. By the end of the third quarter, the Warriors were up 28 points. Unfortunately, both the bench and the starters couldn't hold the lead, and the game became worryingly close at the end. On top of it all, Klay Thompson sprained his ankle. By this game, it was clear the Warriors' gas was running low. Check out our recap here.
December 11th: Warriors defeat Boston Celtics 124-119
Missing both Klay and Harrison, Luke Walton was forced to play everybody to near exhaustion due to two overtimes and a extremely stingy Boston defense. Across the roster the players had little energy, and Boston capitalized over the course of the 190 minute game. But thanks to a godly performance by Draymond, who finished with the first 5x5 stat line in the NBA since 2012, the Warriors stole this one, reaching 24-0 on the season. Check out our recap here.
December 12th: Milwaukee Bucks defeat Warriors 105-98
Finally, it arrives: the Warriors' first loss. Completely exhausted, with injuries (even though Klay played, he was obviously hobbled) and sickness all across the roster, the Warriors were simply outplayed by the Bucks. Dubs fans were given their first taste of basketball sadness in six months. The Warriors very gladly boarded their plane home, back to the Bay. Check out our recap here.
Sadly, the Warriors weren't able to finish their seven-game road trip undefeated, which would've been the first time in history it occurred (can't have every record!). But in the last few games, the Warriors clearly just wanted to go home: there was tiredness, an almost lackadaisical approach to winning. There was also incredible pressure from the winning streak: teams at full preparation and determination, national media coverage, and a chance at history. With both those in the rearview mirror, how do the players feel?
The answer is, not terribly. After the loss, Ethan Sherwood Strauss noted "there was some disappointment, some catharsis, and even some laughter." Draymond even joked, "I bet you thought we were going to be sad, huh?".
The Warriors finally, after 25 games, have some wiggle room. With rest and less pressure, they can now heal their execution issues with some urgency, and maybe look to change things up where necessary. It's the regular season, not the playoffs, after all.
This marks the beginning of the second chapter of the Warriors' 2015 season. The Warriors stay in the Bay for more than two weeks, playing the Suns, Bucks (sweet revenge?), Jazz, Cavaliers (Christmas Finals rematch!), and Kings, with many days of rest in between. Although we'd love to see another 20+ win streak, it's unlikely. We'll probably have to get used to losing a little more than we have been, and that's okay.