Hornets sting offense-less Warriors

The Warriors paid tribute to Stephen Curry — who will make his return Saturday — showing him just how badly he is missed Friday night.

They put on an anemic offensive display, limping their way to a 111-100 loss to the Charlotte Hornets (13-22).

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Warriors’ locker room at Oracle Arena.

Kevin Durant said he’s glad that there’s another game right on the horizon:

“The best thing about this game is that we got a game tomorrow. … These games come around so quick that it’d be foolish for us tomorrow to think about this game or even next week to think about the Charlotte game.”

Durant and his teammates would be best survived wiping this one from the memory banks altogether. Save for a return of Klay Thompson’s shooting nothing went right. Golden State (28-8) was throttled offensively by a bottom-10 defense, barely reaching 100 points.

A gift Shaun Livingston layup with 12 seconds left saved the Warriors from not breaking the century mark for the fourth time in their last six games. Before this stretch, they failed to break 100 just three times total for the season.

Steve Kerr said there aren’t any big concerns about the offense, but there is a main one:

“It’s almost always turnovers. If I’m asked that question if there’s something wrong with our offense, it’s almost always turnovers. And what’s discouraging is that it just feels like so many of them are careless, and silly and pointless.”

The Warriors turned it over 18 times that led directly to 32 Charlotte points. And that’s right in line with their usual amount, they average 16.2 turnovers per contest this year, fourth-most in the league.

Kerr is aware that with his passing offense there will be turnovers but the one’s that kill him are the flashy ones:

“I don’t think it’s trying too hard to make the extra pass, it’s trying too hard to make the great pass. What we preach all the time is make the simple pass, just throw it to the guy that’s open. Too many times we are going for the homerun assist. The beauty of our team is the assists get spread around if we just share it, but we’ve got to just make simple passes and plays.”

It looked like this game was going to be the opposite at the start however, as Thompson scored 13 in the first quarter and 20 in the first half, catching fire off the opening tip. But in what has become all too familiar, he went quiet in the second half, attempting just six shots over the last 24 minutes.

Durant picked up some slack, scoring 27 points. But even Mr. Efficient wasn’t himself as he shot just 8-of-19 from the field.

Outside of Durant and Thompson, the Warriors got just about nothing on the offensive end from anyone in uniform. The other three starters combined for 18 points with just 29 points coming from the bench.

But offense wasn’t their only deficiency as they played what would be described generously as careless defense. The rotations were a second or more late and the help-side defense that routinely gives their opponents fits was nowhere to be found.

Durant, who had been enjoying his best defensive season to date, finished with zero blocks for the first time in 26 days and was a non-factor on that end, especially after tweaking his ankle early in the game.

It didn’t help that the Warriors let Dwight Howard run amok inside, as he finished with 29 easy points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. And not only destroyed any center the Warriors threw at him but also hit not one, not two, but three jump shots from at least 15 feet.

And that basically says all that need be said about this game: the best shooter on the floor at Oracle was Dwight Howard.

Up next

The Warriors will play their second back-to-back in seven days as they take the court again Saturday to face the traveling Memphis Grizzlies (11-24). The two teams faced off just 10 days ago with the Warriors grinding out a 97-84 win.

Notes

Omri Casspi missed Friday’s contest and is questionable to play Saturday after spraining his ankle in Wednesday night’s game. … Durant’s zero block game snapped his streak of nine straight games with multiple-blocked shots, which was a career best streak.


Curtis Uemura is SFBay’s Golden State Warriors beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @CUemura on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Warriors basketball.