Other franchises gifted Dirk Nowitzki signed jerseys or similar parting gifts, but the Warriors gave him something else in his final game at Oracle Arena— 40 minutes of wide-open jumpers.
It was the worst loss of the year for the Warriors — worse than the huge letdown against Phoenix, worse than Christmas day against the Lakers and worse than a Celtics blowout.
And each of those games have come on their home court.
Draymond Green had no answers for what happened:
“I don’t know. We just got punched. … You could sense the energy wasn’t there, that’s kind of normal in a game like that, didn’t really sense we’d lose by 40.”
Doncic led the way with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, while Nowitzki had 21 of his own and Kleber came off the bench for an easy 16 points and nine rebounds.
Steve Kerr said that most of those open looks were compliments of defensive lapses on the Warriors end:
“A lot of breakdowns. A lot of miscommunication or lack of communication. Give them credit, they executed. They made 21 3’s, you got to make them even if they’re open.”
Everyone knew the Warriors offense would stagnate with Stephen Curry being rested, but worse than that, the defense, which looked to have turned a corner recently, reverted back to its ambivalent state.
They allowed Dallas to easily pour in at least 30 points in each of the first three quarters and looked like they couldn’t care less about it.
Kerr thought the Warriors might come out flat, but nothing to this extent:
“These late-season games for teams like Dallas that are out of the playoffs are a free swing. There’s no pressure, and we talked about that before the game. We knew they would come out firing … so I kind of expected a slow start, a little bit of a let down game. But I thought we’d pull together, and we just could never get anything going.”
The usually animated Green was nowhere to be found. He wasn’t zipping around on defense, and wasn’t pushing the ball offensively either. He was content to have Kevin Durant walk the ball up the court.
Durant finished with 25 points but all of them were empty and weren’t nearly enough to make a difference. Especially when Klay Thompson shot just 4-of-13 for eight points.
Durant said that he thinks the answer is simple for their struggles:
“I don’t know, I mean, I really think it is just us missing shots. And that’s something that I can’t pinpoint for everybody, but I’m confident we’ll start knocking them down here soon.”
About the only player that played with any kind of hustle was DeMarcus Cousins, who had 19 points on 11 shots. While he had trouble getting out on the Dallas bigs at the 3-point line, the effort was there at least.
But that was like putting a Band-Aid on an amputated arm.
Dallas’ bench outscored the Warriors’ 58-26, and 12 of Golden State’s came from Kevon Looney in extended garbage time.
Dallas reserve, 28-year old rookie Ryan Broekhoff, who is averaging 3.0 points in his 33 games played, had more points — 17 — than any Warrior not named Durant or Cousins.
And they all came when the game was still semi-close. The Warriors just had no fight to stop him.
The Mavericks were the first to seemingly every loose ball, every rebound and got open looks every time down the court.
Maybe the Warriors were saving all their energy for Sunday.
The Warriors will get less than 24 hours of rest and be back on the court Sunday to take on Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons.