The Golden State Warriors welcomed Andrew Wiggins and Andre Iguodala back to the rotation on Saturday night, but just as the Dubs were getting healthier, they got hit with some bad news. Warriors guard Klay Thompson was a late scratch with knee soreness. Maybe the last-minute surprise played a role in the deflated showing Golden State had in a 115-101 loss to the Magic.
The Warriors fell behind early and never recovered. Draymond Green got in early foul trouble, and without his presence on the floor, the Warriors mediocre defense fell even further. Two-way forward Anthony Lamb did take advantage of the extra playing time, posting a career-high 26 points, scoring 22 in his first 12 minutes of action.
Otherwise, the rest of the Warriors looked disconnected all night long. While Wiggins and Iguodala understandably showed some rust, they were far from the only Golden State players consistently making head-scratching decisions and failing to execute straightforward passes.
Jordan Poole had another painstaking performance, going 5-for-17 from the field (2-for-11 from three) with 4 egregious turnovers. While he finished the game with 21 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists, his line overshadowed a game that showcased bad shot selection and poor passing that has troubled Poole all season long. Finding consistency has always been Poole’s biggest struggle in the NBA, but coming off a breakout 2021-22 campaign, the Warriors have clearly been stunted by his struggles this season. Not only has he been a less efficient shooter at all levels this season, but he’s also been asked to take on a larger playmaking role in Curry’s absence, a responsibility he does not seem ready to take on quite yet.
The Magic have now won nine of their last 10 games, but they still have a 15-25 record on the season. Even with Golden State’s injuries, the Warriors should have been able to put up more of a fight in front of a home crowd. Instead, they fell to 20-20 on the season and will look to get back above .500 on Tuesday against the Suns.