The only thing that could stop D’Angelo Russell Saturday was Luka Doncic — and his hip.
The Warriors star ran directly into Doncic with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter Saturday. Russell stayed down for an extended period of time while a stretcher was brought out onto the court.
Eventually, he was able to walk off the court under his own power and even returned later on in the contest. But while Russell was able to recover, the Warriors (9-25) never could, falling to the Mavericks (21-10), 141-121.
After the game, Russell was upbeat about his injury:
“I’m good, I’m good, injuries are part of the game. Thank god it wasn’t nothing too serious, just a little shoulder contusion. Hard contact, I think that’s what kind of knocked the wind out of me, but I’m good now.”
Draymond Green said it was a scary to see, and that he was glad the stretcher wasn’t used for more than one reason:
“With a collision like that, and you see someone reach for their neck, it can be worrisome. It was relieving to see him get up and walk off on his own. Happy he didn’t leave on a stretcher and then come back in, we would have lost all respect.”
What made Russell’s injury even worse is that he was having what may have been the best game of his career. He was absolutely out of his mind to start the game, making his first seven shots, including 4-of-5 from deep, and had 18 points in the first quarter, including the Warriors’ first 14 points of the game.
Russell said his game allowed his teammates to flourish as well:
“When you get in that zone, you just want to put as many good shots up as you can to put the pressure on the defense. Allow them to focus on you, so you allow your teammates to kind of pick it apart as well, it makes the game easier.”
He had 30 points and eight 3’s at the half, becoming the third player in Warriors history to hit eight 3’s in a half, joining Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. His 35 points are still nothing to dismiss, but his night was on pace to be historic, and he was keeping the Warriors close all night.
Damion Lee joined in on the fun, going a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the arc to start and finished with 18 points, the fifth straight game he’s scored at least 14.
As a team, Golden State lit it up from downtown, going 9-of-13 in the first half and finishing with 18 made 3’s. The Mavericks defense might as well have been nonexistent as the Warriors stroked it like it was a 5-on-0 drill.
The only problem was, the Warriors were equally awful on the defensive end. The Mavericks went an equally impressive 10-of-16 from 3 in the first quarter. The two teams shot a combined 57 percent from deep.
Luka Doncic had 25 in the first half, on 5-of-6 from 3, to go along with eight boards and seven assists.
He notched another triple-double with 31 points, 12 boards and 15 assists. And when Russell went out and the Warriors offense left with him, Doncic and the Mavs kept up their crazy shooting.
They shot 47 percent from downtown and hit a season high 24 3’s. Tim Hardaway Jr. went for 25, Kristaps Porzingis pitched in 18 and Seth Curry poured in 17. That four-headed monster shot a combined 19-of-36 from 3 and was the difference in the game.
The Warriors had built their four-game win streak on the back of their defense, and that’s how they lost it. They could not stop anyone, and with their offense still having it’s struggles, it’s going to be hard for them to pull out more wins.
Steve Kerr said that this was a successful homestand despite the way it ended:
“Obviously, our best stretch of basketball of the year. Our defense held up really well over the first four, and tonight we ran into the best offensive team in the league and we just couldn’t sustain the effort. We seemed to run out of gas a little bit in the second half.”
They need to rely on their defense, and it was nowhere to be found Saturday. But what the team saw the past four games is enough for optimism.
After five straight games at Chase Center the Warriors will head out for a quick two-game road trip, with the first stop in San Antonio Tuesday.
Jordan Poole played his first game of the year for the Santa Cruz Warriors after being assigned to the team Friday. Steve Kerr said the assignment would be indefinite with the hope that he rediscovers his shot.