Everyone was prematurely pumped with the Golden State Warriors jumped out to a 6-2 start. It was cool, sure, but Stephen Curry was on a historic heater as the first guy in history to make at least four 3-pointers in each of a season’s first nine games.
Now we’re getting a look at what the Warriors look like when Curry isn’t throwing flames, and it ain’t pretty. In fact, it’s kind of miserable to watch. The Warriors, who still haven’t had a single player score more than 20 points in a game other than Curry, are now 6-5 after getting spanked by the Timberwolves on Sunday. The 116-110 final score was in no way indicative of how badly the Wolves outplayed them. It’s the Warriors’ third straight loss and fourth in five games.
Curry finished with 38 points against Minnesota, which sounds better than it actually was. He was 5-of-13 from 3 — pretty good for anyone else, but subpar for Curry, who is now 17 for his last 44 from deep. Again, that’s pretty good for anyone else — 38% — but it’s certainly nothing close to hot, and if Curry isn’t red hot the Warriors are the ones getting cooked.
On Sunday, Curry ground out his 38 points Kobe style. He worked his way to the free-throw line a season-high 12 times, and put close to 30 shots if you count the ones on which he was fouled. Against Detroit, he shot 26 times. These are high shot totals for Curry, but he doesn’t have a choice. It is outright painful right now watching anyone else on this team try to create any kind of offense.
I hate to say the Warriors miss Jordan Poole; but they definitely miss that type of player — someone who can actually provide some juice. Everyone went wild for Chris Paul’s assist-to-turnover ratio, but the guy didn’t make a single basket on Sunday. Paul finished with a mere two points on free throws. He’s now averaging 8.1 points on 36% shooting, including 16% on three-point attempts. It is UGLY.
Klay Thompson was the second-leading scorer with 16, and he had to jack up 16 shots to even get that. He missed seven of his 10 3s, and is now 11 for his last 40 (27.5%) from deep. After Curry hit a rainbow 3 over Rudy Gobert, it looked like one desperate push might be possible. Thompson had a wide-open layup to get the deficit under double-digits with five minutes still left to play.
This is the way it has gone for anyone not named Curry. Andrew Wiggins, who realistically has to be the second scoring option on this team, is in the tank. It bears repeating: Golden State STILL hasn’t had a single player other than Curry score more than 20 points in a game. That is almost unfathomable.
On Sunday, the Warriors shot 27% from deep as a team, missing 31 of their 43 attempts. They were 13-for-38 against Cleveland, and 11-for-35 against Denver.
You can say it’s a make-or-miss league, but that’s a Mark Jackson bailout. Outside of Curry, the Warriors simply do not create the consistent advantages that lead to the kinds of shots that are going to allow for exponential scoring/shooting spurts. They are old and slow and grinding like hell to do anything if Curry isn’t cooking. Which, for the first time all year, he isn’t right now. And it’s exposing a lot of holes on this Warriors team that is way-too reliant on one guy not just to win, but to even be fun to watch anymore.