So if you’re looking for a silver lining in the Warriors 124-97 loss to the Mavericks on Tuesday night, there it is: They didn’t lose by 48. That’s it. That’s the silver lining. If you’re looking for a second one, move on with your day already. Give it up.
The Warriors, in their depleted present state, are not in the same class as the Mavs, even though Dallas was without All-Star Kristaps Porzingis. And that was apparent from opening tip, even with superstar Luka Doncic having an off night by his standards.
Doncic finished the night with 20 points on 8-19 shooting, with 8 rebounds and 2 assists. An off night, yes, but it was still more points, rebounds, and made field goals than anyone wearing a Warriors charcoal jersey could muster.
In fact, Doncic’s crew were so quick in dispatching the Warriors that coach Rick Carlisle was able to light not one, but two victory cigars. Affable giant and future Academy Award nominee Boban Marjanovic - who only gets off the bench for about half of Dallas’ games - eclipsed the 20-minute mark for just the second time all year.
And, two nights after having no answers for the size of Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas, the Warriors were helpless against Marjanovic, the second-tallest man in the league. The John Wick 3 star’s lack of reliable moves was evident in needing 14 shots to amass 13 points, but the 11 rebounds he secured were so nonchalant that they made a mockery of the Warriors center position.
Then again, that mockery wasn’t exclusive to members of the 7-foot-4 club. Starting center Dwight Powell - a relatively microscopic 6-foot-10 - toyed with the Warriors like a big brother. He took nine shots and made all of them, which, personally, is a strategy I think more players should employ. In all, he finished with 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists, despite playing only 24 minutes.
Perhaps his excellence was fueled by location, as he was just up the road from his college stomping grounds at Stanford. But that feels like a generous read on the situation.
For the Warriors, there were barely any bright spots, though the good news is that those bright spots came in encouraging places. The established stars were bad, but is that worth worrying about? Hardly.
Draymond Green continued his offensive tepidity, shooting 2-6 en route to a yawn-inducing line of 5 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists. D’Angelo Russell was shut down, needing 17 shots to score 13 points, missing all 6 of his attempts from deep, and nearly matching his 8 assists with 6 turnovers.
But they’ll be better, especially when the games matter. They’re hardly worth noting, other than to gripe when remembering that you wasted a few hours watching that game.
What is worth noting is the rookies, whose abilities can’t yet be taken for granted. Jordan Poole, after a highly-encouraging performance against Memphis, was even better against Dallas. He shot 3-7 from deep and 6-12 overall, finishing with a team-high 17 points and 5 assists.
not one— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 15, 2020
Yup, it's a 4⃣-point play pic.twitter.com/B4sxLkN6J4
Eric Paschall returned to his efficient ways, shooting 7-11 and making both of his attempts from beyond the arc. He looked like a solid pro.
come on and slam— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 15, 2020
and welcome to the jam pic.twitter.com/lZy3T9BxTz
Even Alen Smailagic got in on the action, shooting 2-3, and making the most of his 12 minutes with 5 points, 1 rebound, and 3 assists.
Ultimately, those performances matter more than Green and Russell having poor games. Ultimately, they matter more than the 27-point loss, which, combined with the Atlanta Hawks victory over the Phoenix Suns, gave the Warriors the league’s worst record.
You’re forgiven if you didn’t take that viewpoint while it was unfolding, though. The game sucked; on that we can all agree.