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Warriors defense steps up, while offense does just enough to beat Pacers 102-100

Somehow, someway, the Warriors keep finding ways to win.

Golden State Warriors v Indiana Pacers Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors avoided back-to-back losses on Monday, pulling out a 102-100 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Stephen Curry continued approaching Ray Allen’s career NBA record for made threes, finishing Monday’s matchup just one make short of tying the all-time mark. However, his relative offensive struggles over the past few games continued. Curry led the Warriors with 26 points but finished 8-for-20 from the field with 7 turnovers.

Steve Kerr and Draymond Green each picked up a technical foul in the first few minutes of the game, and the Warriors’ frustrations with the referees persisted. The Warriors were far more efficient from the field all game (the Warriors shot 50% from the field compared to Indiana’s 40.2%), but a combination of Dubs turnovers and fouls gave the Pacers plenty of room to operate.

Kerr gave rookies Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga some early rotation minutes looking for a spark. While Moody was quiet in two first-quarter minutes, Kuminga gave Golden State some quality minutes off the bench. He was a Warriors’ best +11 in the first half.

After an abysmal offensive performance by Golden State’s bench in their 102-93 loss to the 76ers, Otto Porter Jr. returned with a solid final statline, finishing with 10 points and 6 rebounds. With that said, Porter was forced to do most of his damage inside the arc and struggled defensively against Domantas Sabonis.

Our own Joe Viray has argued the Warriors should make a run at acquiring Sabonis in a trade, and he put together one of his best performances of the season on Monday against Golden State. Sabonis took advantage of the Dubs’ undersized bigs inside, racking up a game-high 30 points and 11 rebounds (6 offensive).

Green’s tech aligned with an obvious offensive aggressiveness that was apparent early. With the Warriors’ usual shotmakers struggling, Green did his best to pick up the slack. He was Golden State’s second-leading scorer for most of the game, and he tried to help the Dubs stay within striking distance while their usual scorers struggled. While Curry, Jordan Poole, and Andrew Wiggins never took over, Green made some pivotal shots, including a clutch fourth-quarter layup. He finished with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists.

The Warriors’ outside shooting woes (26.7% from three-point land) and turnovers were significantly self-inflicted. Still, the Pacers also committed to forcing the Dubs’ weaker offensive players to beat them in an even more dramatic way than usual. Golden State’s center Kevon Looney was truly unguarded on a noticeable number of possessions. Looney capitalized a bit, scoring 14 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field, but a combination of errant Warriors passes and Looney’s offensive limitations tempered their ability to capitalize. Golden State may need to focus on their counters more going forward, but Looney somehow made the game-winning bucket on one of his wildest makes of the season.

It’s been an undeniably rough few games for Curry, who now seems destined to set the all-time three-point record tomorrow against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Yet coming off a season when Curry seemingly needed to score 35 points to keep things close, it should be another reminder of how different a place the Warriors are at less than a year later. Golden State is 22-5 and has still been an incredibly challenging opponent despite his recent slump. Still, everyone is hoping the bright lights of New York will spark a historic performance from Steph worth remembering.

No Twitch postgame stream today on the first half of a back-to-back.