It was all Luka Doncic the last time the Warriors faced the Mavericks at Chase, but Tuesday night it was the trio of Dallas bigs that sunk Golden State.
The Warriors held the prodigal son to 20 points and eight rebounds, but couldn’t limit any of the opposing bigs and got dominated, 124-97.
The Warriors have been beasted by every opposing big man lately, but especially the last two games.
After Jonas Valanciunas put up 31 points and 19 rebounds against them Sunday, the Mavericks rotation of bigs similarly manhandled the Warriors.
Dwight Powell had 21 points on a perfect 9-of-9 from the field and six rebounds, while his starting partner Maxi Kleber had 11 and seven.
Even reserve monster Boban Marjanovic had 13 and 11 in 20 embarrassingly dominant minutes.
He made Willie Cauley-Stein look like a middle-schooler — helpless to do anything — and it seemed borderline cruel to leave on an island for so long.
They scored on post ups, pick-and-rolls and putbacks. They scored on planes and trains, they scored in the box and with a fox.
And that was all without starting power forward Kristaps Porzingis, who is out with a knee injury.
Steve Kerr said the last couple games has felt like their competitiveness is waining:
“What I don’t like is the feeling of things snowballing on us a little bit. We’ve been competitive for the most part this year, and I think right now were in a tailspin, and we’ve got to stop it. And the way to stop it is to really fight defensively and to play with a sense of desperation and we’ve got to get to that.”
While the Mavericks bigs were working, the Warriors’ looked out of sync.
D’Angelo Russell is still not used to his new starting center, and a couple times on the pick-and-roll he tried to throw a lead pass, but didn’t realize Omari Spellman is always looking to pop for a 3.
It’s only the second game these two have shared a starting lineup so it’s expected that there will be some kinks to work out, especially because it looks like that will be the lineup going forward.
Both of them struggled to get into rhythm Tuesday as Russell had just 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting, while Spellman had his first quiet game in a week with just 10 points and four boards.
Glenn Robinson III said they need to get back to where everyone was attacking and aggressive on offense:
“We had a time period where we were sharing the ball moving the ball and kind of playing together and everyone was aggressive. Just got a good back to that on offensive end. We got to find a way to connect, to stay engaged on defense. A lot of easy points a lot of second chance points and those type of things kill you with this good team.”
For the second game in a row against the Mavericks, one of the Warriors’ point guards had to be helped off the court. This time it was Jacob Evans who took a Powell elbow to the face in the second quarter.
He looked like he was ok at first but wobbly crumpled to the court as he was trying to run back on defense and seemed to be unconscious at one point.
Evans missed 21 games earlier with a hip injury and really hasn’t been good since his return. And this latest injury setback is something that the second-year guard can’t afford.
He’s been losing minutes to Damion Lee and Jordan Poole and could find himself in jeopardy of losing his roster spot next season despite having a guaranteed contract.
He was shooting an almost inhumane 31 percent from the field while averaging more turnovers (1.2) than assists (1.1) as the team’s backup point guard.
Poole took his minutes in the second half and had his second straight encouraging game.
His 17 points are the second most he’s put up this season, and he did it on an efficient 6-of-12 shooting, which is just the third time all season he’s shot 50 percent or higher in a game.
Kerr said he looks freer on the court and that he was pressing the last few games, but Poole said he feels like he’s playing the same as he has been:
“I don’t think confidence was a thing. My confidence has been the same it’s just opportunities. I just continue to do the same things I’ve been doing. I haven’t changed anything from the beginning of the season.”
He was essentially the lone positive to be taken away though as otherwise the Warriors were dominated from the start.
As the losses pile up, so does the playing time for the Warriors’ rookies, which is really what this season is about.
But when asked about if he can see the positives for his development, Eric Paschall gave a mixed answer:
“Yes, and no. I mean, it’s good for my career, good for my development, but at the same time I’d much rather win. Everything’s better when you win. I always looked at it that everybody eats when we’re winning. It’s better for everybody, instead of losing and it being better for a few guys.”
The Warriors play at home in four of the next five games and welcome the Denver Nuggets, who currently sit in third place in the West, Thursday.
Damion Lee was held out of his second straight game with his two-way contract maxed out at possible games played for the Warriors. The team waived Marqueese Chriss over a week ago to clear space to sign Lee to a regular contract, but the team has been waiting, as the longer they wait, the more extra money they save under the hard cap. … A deal with Lee will be done in the next day though, since it allows the team to sign another two-way player before the deadline to do so, which is Wednesday. And according to reports, that player they are signing is Chriss. Chriss and Lee will essentially switch contracts and when Chriss signs, he’ll have a little more than 20 games available to play with the Warriors before he has to go to Santa Cruz.