What did we just watch?
The Golden State Warriors lost to the Phoenix Suns 123-115 on Wednesday night in what may very well be the most chaotic game of the 2023-24 NBA season. And that’s saying something considering the Warriors have already played a game this year where multiple players were ejected before a point was scored.
Warriors guard Chris Paul was ejected in the second quarter after a heated back and fourth with referee Scott Foster — far from their first contentious encounter. The Dubs bench put together multiple impressive runs, but some atrocious struggles from Golden State’s most important players sunk the ship.
Steph Curry had arguably his worst performance of the regular season, scoring 16 points on 6-for-15 shooting from the field (1-for-8 from three). Andrew Wiggins also seemingly regressed to the hollow performances that have defined his season thus far. Wiggins missed all of his three-point attempts and once again faded to the background. Klay Thompson’s shooting was one of the few bright spots for the Warriors’ veterans. Thompson was 6-for-10 from three, scoring a team-high 23 points in 25 minutes of action.
The Suns built a 23-point lead in the second half and were in such control that Warriors head coach Steve Kerr pulled the starters multiple times. While it may not have been a strategic move, it sure worked like one. Brandin Podziemski (+20), Cory Joseph (+12), and Dario Šarić (+12), and Gui Santos (+3) were the only Warriors to finish with a positive plus/minus. Podziemski filled the stat sheet with 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals. Šarić scored 17 points on nine field-goal attempts.
The Warriors bench was actually able to cut Phoenix’s lead to three in the final minute, but ultimately had too much of a deficit to overcome. The Dubs are now 7-9 on the season and seem to be in disarray. There is reason for optimism surrounding a bubbling youth movement, but the NBA is a superstar league, and the Warriors are waiting for their veteran stars to mesh.