The Golden State Warriors raced out to an 11-1 start behind the top-rated defense in the league and an MVP start to Steph Curry’s season. They’ve also played the league’s softest schedule thus far. They’ve gotten away with some sloppy showings against inferior competition; a couple big runs was all it took to quell their turnover demons.
But you can’t get away with throwing the ball all over the court forever, particularly when Curry — who’s a central part of the turnover problem himself — doesn’t bail you out with a personal fireworks show.
On Sunday, Curry had what was probably his worst game of the season as the Warriors fell to the Charlotte Hornets 106-102 (box score). The loss snapped Golden State’s seven-game win streak, all of which had come over more than a two-week home stand vs., again, some pretty soft competition.
The Warriors are opening a four-game road trip, and it didn’t start well. They turned it over 15 times against the Hornets, and that number does not do justice to how lazy and shaky they were with the ball.
Turnovers are something you have to accept with the way Golden State plays on the edge, forcing the issue in the half-court with never-ending cuts and needle-threading assists, and always pushing the pace in transition. But every game there are a handful of giveaways that just make you shake your head. Curry is never going to fully stop making those one-handed flip passes over double teams that are just waiting to be deflected and/or picked off.
After posting 50 and 40 points in two of his last three games, Curry shot just 3-of-13 from 3-point range and 7-of-22 overall on Sunday. He still put up 24 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and three steals, and to be fair he only turned it over three times and was plus-14 in his 36 minutes, which tells you his impact even when he’s not shooting well.
But the depth that has been such a strength for the Warriors this season didn’t do enough, losing the non-Curry minutes by 18 points. Andrew Wiggins, who has been playing fantastic of late, finished with 28 points and the defense was there again, but rookie Jonathan Kuminga was the only bench player that did much of anything. Kevon Looney missed a huge pair of free throws late in the fourth quarter, and overall the Warriors just couldn’t put the ball in the basket enough from deep, shooting 23 percent (9-for-39) as a team from beyond the arc.
This game had all the feel of a Warriors team that just didn’t take how badly they were playing offensively seriously. They have gotten used to being able to erase poor play with a few flurries that never came on Sunday. Curry’s 3-point attempts became more forced the more he missed, and as the Hornets tracked him off ball, he wasn’t able to create much of any space off the dribble, which I think is something to watch at his age as the Warriors lack even one other consistent dribble creator.
Next up for Golden State is a date with the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, followed by road games vs. the Cavs and Pistons before they return home to host Toronto on Sunday.