What we learned as Warriors fall into trap, lose to Spurs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO -- With just a few minutes left in the third quarter at Chase Center on Saturday, it felt as though the Warriors had already lost to the San Antonio Spurs. They hadn't been able to shake off the sluggish start they'd been playing with since tipoff.
Steph Curry still was dormant, and no one else had stepped up enough to change the game.
But just like that ... Curry got going. Everyone else got going. Golden State found some energy and got back in the game. And they carried it through the finish, but still fell to the Spurs 112-107 on the second night of a back-to-back.
Coach Steve Kerr knew that the Warriors' game against Spurs could be a trap game. He told his team that when they arrived at the arena. He told the media that 105 minutes before tipoff.
Kerr said that the key was about coming out of the gates with strong energy. But the Warriors failed to do so and couldn't find enough spurts of energy throughout the night to take care of business.
Here are three takeaways from their fourth loss of the season:
As Kerr said, the Warriors' game against the Spurs was as much of a trap game as they come: The second night of a back-to-back, a lesser team after facing the hottest team in the league and an early tipoff.
And although Kerr warned his team about this ahead of the game, they suffered greatly until the fourth quarter rolled around. The Warriors cut their once 20-point deficit to seven and went on a run.
The Warriors are known for their third-quarter runs that have won them so many games. But on Saturday, it was the fourth quarter where they tried to shift the game in their favor.
It started when Curry finally got going a little bit. He closed the third quarter by nailing a 38-footer as time expired, and when the team took the court for the final 12 minutes, it was as if they had taken shots of adrenaline during the break.
The Warriors' defense tightened -- they had allowed just two points eight minutes in -- their offense was more precise. They were hitting shots they were missing just several minutes before. Chase Center got as loud as it had been all night long.
But their shortcomings earlier in the game dug them too deep into a hole. They were tired when it started, and by clutch time the Warriors looked absolutely gassed.
Steph shows up when it counted
For most of the night, it felt that Curry was going to suffer from the same off-shooting night he did in Phoenix on Tuesday. But then he managed to muster up just enough energy to spark the Warriors' run.
He finished the game with a team-high 27 points.
But we also can't ignore that overall, it was a rough night for Curry.
For the second time in three games, there was a lid on the basket for Curry, who went 7-of-28 from the field, including 5-of-17 from 3-point range.
Like the game in Phoenix earlier this week, Curry wasn't only missing contested shots, but wide-open ones as well. Most notably, he missed an open layup and an open push shot. But unlike in Phoenix, it wasn't because the Spurs were playing incredible defense on him. It was because Curry looked tired.
This could have been a logical night to let Curry rest. But with no Andre Iguodala, Otto Porter Jr., Moses Moody or Jonathan Kuminga, the Warriors needed him out there. And he gave them what they all they could ask for.
Bursts off the bench
With all the names I mentioned above -- Iguodala, Porter, Moody and Kuminga -- out for the Warriors, it put more of the onus on the other bench players, particularly ones who have found themselves in and out of the rotation because of Golden State's depth.
Nemanja Bjelica, Damion Lee and Juan Toscano-Anderson were three players off the bench the Warriors needed good minutes from, and they got them for the most part.
In his second game back after the birth of his first child, Lee finished with had 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Toscano-Anderson followed up his strong game from the night before with another good one: 13 points on the same shooting split as Lee. Bjelica added nine points on 4-of-6 shooting.