The Dubs dug themselves a hole that they absolutely should not have dug. They came out of the gates slow, taking only contested shots and not playing much defense. At some point in the first quarter the defense snapped into place, but the offense never did, and they trailed 25-17 after the initial frame.
The second quarter didn’t fix the offensive futility, though the defense stayed strong. The Dubs rallied after falling behind 13, and trailed by eight points at halftime, albeit with only 38 total points, and some shockingly bad offense.
The Warriors starters combined for just 18 points in the first half.— Golden State of Mind (@unstoppablebaby) March 23, 2022
Klay: 8 points, 4-10 FGA
Poole: 5 points, 1-6 FGA
Wiggins: 3 points, 1-8 FGA
Looney: 2 points, 1-2 FGA
Dray: 0 points, 0-1 FGA
But the third quarter was kind to the Warriors, as it so often is. They brought energy out of the locker room and, just as happened on Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs, Jordan Poole shook off a rough first half with a third-quarter explosion. It took them only five minutes to tie the game, and shortly before the halfway mark they took a 55-52 lead — their first since 2-0.
They won the quarter by a whopping 17 points, which gave them a nine-point lead heading into the fourth. They quickly pushed that to a 14-point lead, at which point the offense immediately forgot how to function.
That opened the doors for a 13-0 Orlando run, which closed the gap to a single point, and the Magic finally re-took the lead with 1:43 remaining. Andrew Wiggins gave the Dubs the lead again with 1:08 left, on a three-pointer that put Golden State up two, but then it all hit the fan.
Mo Bamba made a corner three with 52.1 left to put the Magic up a point, and Poole missed a go-ahead floater. The Dubs played great defense on the next possession, before Klay Thompson had a back-breaking play, fouling Franz Wagner on a desperation three with 0.1 seconds on the shot clock, and 12.2 left in the game.
Wagner made all three free throws to make it a two-possession game, and Golden State dropped their third straight outing to fall to 47-25.
Golden State’s offense was sloppy and rusty all game, as they had just 21 assists to 18 turnovers, and shot a mere 40.0% from the field. Otto Porter Jr. and Jonathan Kuminga each had an efficient 14 points off the bench, but the starters lacked efficiency in a big way. Poole led the team with 26 points, but needed 23 shots and three free throws to get there. Thompson had 15 points on as many shots (plus a free throw), and Wiggins, save for the clutch three, was awful offensively, mustering just 13 points on 5-for-19 shooting, and continuing his free throw woes by going 1-for-2 from the stripe.
Things don’t get easier for the Warriors from here, as this was the first of a five-game road trip. And after getting beat by the team with the worst record in the Eastern Conference, they have to turn around tomorrow night and face the team with the best record in the East, the Miami Heat.
Better luck then, I guess.