SAN FRANCISCO — The Warriors’ first showing out of the All-Star break was nice, sure, but a 37-point win over woeful Portland still left Stephen Curry with questions.
Facing a true playoff contender Sunday night, the Warriors showed why those concerns shouldn’t have been put to rest so quickly.
The Warriors led for the first 44 minutes of regulation, but let the Dallas Mavericks climb all the way back from a 21-point deficit and fell 107-101.
The collapse marked the second time in three games the Warriors have allowed a double-digit second-half lead to completely evaporate.
With shades of their last home game — a loss in which the Warriors led until the final 13 seconds — Golden State allowed Dallas to chip away at a 19-point fourth quarter advantage and never found a solution.
The Warriors went 4 of 18 from the floor in the final quarter and managed only one point for an eight-minute stretch (9:44-1:30) while allowing 26 to Dallas.
This is what Curry was talking about when he said, “We’ll see” when asked after the Portland game if the Warriors had solved all their problems. The Mavericks “require another level of focus and attention,” Curry said.
That was there for a half Sunday. But not a full game.
Against the Trail Blazers on Thursday, the Warriors took an early lead and only kept building on it. In the two games sandwiching that effort, two playoff hopefuls have now shown the Warriors they can’t take their foot off the gas.
The Warriors took their largest lead on Saturday when Curry hit from 25 feet, one of his only two 3-pointers in a team-leading 27-point effort, putting them ahead 73-52 just under four minutes into the second half.
By the four-minute mark of the fourth quarter, the Mavericks had erased it entirely. Dorian Finney-Smith connected on a 3-pointer to give Dallas a 95-94 edge, from which the Warriors never recovered.
For two and a half quarters, it looked as though the Warriors were well on their way to a second straight win.
With Gary Payton II in the starting lineup in place of the injured Draymond Green for the third straight game, the Warriors’ defense came out firing on all cylinders. Payton and Kevon Looney disrupted the Mavericks’ first two possessions with steals, setting the tone for the rest of the night.
The Warriors finished with 15 takeaways, with four players — Looney (3), Payton (2), Andrew Wiggins (2) and Steph Curry (2) — coming away with more than one.
They also only gave the ball away 10 times, continuing an encouraging trend that started before the All-Star break. One thing that was going right even as Golden State dropped four of five games was ball security.
After Sunday, the Warriors have gone eight straight games without turning the ball over more than 15 times, averaging 11.5 per game over that span.
Rookies switch roles
With Klay Thompson out (illness), coach Steve Kerr inserted rookie Moses Moody into the starting lineup for the fifth time this season.
Moody was active early, diving to the floor for a loose ball and knocking down an early 3-pointer, but settled into the background of the game. Still, his 26 minutes of him amounted to eight more than his rookie counterpart, a change of pace after a string of impressive performances by Jonathan Kuminga.
On Sunday, Kuminga’s streak of nine straight games scoring in double figures came to an end. If a rookie’s season is marked by highs and lows, then Sunday can be considered a low coming on the heels of a series of highs.
Kuminga quickly picked up three fouls and spent most of the first half on the bench. In limited time on the court, he committed four turnovers — no other Warrior had more than one — and missed a couple dunks.
The Warriors entire bench left them wanting: no reserve finished with a positive plus-minus, and none was worse than Kuminga’s -14.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism