Warriors' Primary Bench Scorers Come Up Short in Close Loss to Magic

With 40 percent of the Hamptons 5 lineup not in uniform, the Warriors were halfway to defeat before walking into Amway Center on Thursday.

To grit this one out, they were going to need more than the scoring they could expect from Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green -- accounting for the other 60 percent -- as well as DeMarcus Cousins.

Without Kevin Durant or Andre Iguodala, they needed a scorer off the bench. Just one. They got none.

In a game where reserves were essential to the offense, the Warriors got 12 points from non-starters. Designated bench scorers Quinn Cook and Jonas Jerebko submitted six points over 32 minutes -- the exact total "non-scorer" Jordan Bell delivered over 14 minutes on 3-of-3 shooting.

Jerebko scored four points on 2-of-6 shooting from the field, while Cook had two points on 1-of-2. Neither made a 3-pointer. No one off the bench did.

Orlando's 35-12 bench scoring advantage was more than enough to push the Magic to a 103-96 win, sending the Warriors to their second straight loss and the fourth in their last six games.

Playing on the second night of a back-to-back set, and the fifth game in eight days, the Warriors found positive energy in only one quarter -- the stellar third. They were barely there in the first and second, and they practically dissolved in the fourth, scoring 15 points to Orlando's 33.

"We missed a lot of shots," Curry told reporters in Florida. "We didn't get any stops, so frustrating way to end considering how we finished the third quarter. We were pretty much in control of the game . . . it's a tough one.

"We played really hard and for a back-to-back with two key guys out, obviously we had to rely on that to put us in the position we were in and just flamed out at the end. It's a tough way to go out."

Said Thompson: "We got a little stagnant. We tried to put it all on Steph and it is just hard because teams are going to just gear up to him so much."

Don't pin this one on Curry, Thompson or even Green. All three were extended and looked the part. Curry missed 21 of 33 shots, and Thompson missed 14 of his 23. Green, who often generates enough energy to power the team, wasn't himself; he's better than five points, six rebounds and three assists spread out over 39 minutes.

Don't put it on Cousins, either, even if he was a team-worst minus-17 over 32 minutes. He didn't help the defense at all, but he surely helped the offense, with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting.

Neither Jerebko nor Cook would be on this team if they weren't good shooters, able to stretch the floor by drilling shots from beyond the arc. They didn't do it Thursday and they haven't done much of it in a while.

Jerebko, who was 11-of-23 from deep in his first nine games as a Warrior, is 10-of-37 over his last 20. He shot 41.4 percent last season with the Jazz and is shooting 36.2 percent for his career.

Cook is having even more difficulty finding triples. Since draining 3-of-4 against the Kings on Jan. 5, he is 6-of-39 from beyond the arc. He shot 44.2 percent as a Warrior last season and is at 40.4 percent for his career.

Both have had to cope with inconsistent minutes, which is at least partly because of inconsistent production. Each bench player has a primary role, and they are the two who are there to score.

Either one could have made the difference. Neither did. Both know they needed to be better.

[RELATED: Is Steph worried about two-game losing streak? In a word ...]

Some will call this a "scheduled loss," a product of the schedule-maker's mean streak. Others might say it was a "bench game," where reserves would play a key role in dictating the outcome.

It was both for the Warriors. And that was enough for general manager Bob Myers to wonder who, if anyone, might come available Friday via the buyout market that is able to provide a few points from the bench.

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