Stop me if this story sounds familiar, the Warriors starters jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter before head coach Steve Kerr’s early rotations entered. The Magic countered with a 10-0 run and finished the quarter with the score tied at 30. The Warriors still managed to build another 15-point lead in the second half, but once again were unable to put the game away.
The Warriors are a far more talented team than the Magic. Yet Golden State has already lost multiple games against less talented teams this season. Everything looks disconnected for the Dubs. Despite individual moments of greatness from Steph Curry and Draymond Green alongside flashes from Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, and Klay Thompson, the Warriors have always been defined by a combination of star power and role player synergy.
With Golden State in the first game of another back-to-back, Curry looked determined to make sure that the Warriors ended their losing streak. Curry played the final seven minutes of the first half and scored 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting from the field.
In the third quarter, the Splash Brothers caught fire, combining to score 20 points over an eight-minute span, extending their lead to 15. It seemed like the Warriors might have a chance to sit their starters for the entire first quarter and rest up before facing the Pelicans tomorrow. Instead, the Magic came storming back.
After the Warriors dominated the offensive glass in the first quarter, the Magic began using their size advantage in the second half. With Golden State’s porous defense, it was a recipe for disaster. The Magic had seven players score at least 12 points on Thursday. Jalen Suggs and 2022 first-overall pick Paolo Banchero led the way with 26 and 22 points, respectively.
As the game slipped away in the fourth quarter, the Warriors were unable to stop Orlando’s run. Down four with 31 seconds remaining, Kerr drew up a play to get Thompson a quick three. Despite a tight contest, Klay knocked it down to bring the Warriors within one. On the other end, Banchero turned the ball over with 4.9 seconds remaining, but Thompson missed a contested runner as time expired.
Curry was immaculate. He racked up 39 points and 9 assists on 13-for-22 shooting from the field. Thompson had his best performance of the season, scoring 27 points and recording the best plus/minus in the game at +13. Yet, that still wasn't enough to beat a team that had a 22-60 record last season. That’s not a good sign.
While the Warriors struggles are not any one player’s fault, it’s hard not to look at backup center James Wiseman’s continued struggles as a huge source of concern. His offense has cratered on this road trip, which makes his defensive shortcomings even more detrimental.
In the Warriors past four games, Wiseman has recorded nearly as many fouls (11) as points (13). With another former lottery pick, Jonathan Kuminga, relegated to the bench, Kerr is only going to face more pressure to cut Wiseman’s minutes if the former second-overall pick does not take some big steps forward soon.
Now, the Warriors will travel to New Orleans to face the Pelicans, who might be the most talented team they have played this season. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 PM Pacific.