An interesting argument last season came up before and after Stephen Curry won the MVP, regarding his importance to the Golden State Warriors. The Dallas Mavericks helped answer some of the questions raised in that debate.
Curry missed the game due to a bruised left leg, which might mean he’s going to miss the second game against a Texas team in two days, Houston. Meanwhile, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson got a taste of what it’s like to hit shots and be the playmakers without Curry on the floor. It’s difficult, and maybe for the first time this season, including their first loss against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Warriors look like they have no idea how to win this game.
The Mavericks, a pleasantly surprising team this season, beat the Warriors to hand them the second loss of the season 114-91. While they didn’t completely stop the Warriors from getting open shots (their defense isn’t that good), it was a lot easier not having to have a player or two worry about where Curry is going to pop up from at any given time, not to mention the 30.5 points and 6.4 assists per game missing from the stat sheet, which isn’t easy to fill.
Green and Thompson both tried, a bit too hard. The Warriors said after the game it was just one of those nights with shots not dropping, but it was more than that. A defense that doesn’t have to worry about Curry can make the Warriors seem ordinary on offense. Without their usual shooting efficiency, it’s much harder to put up their usual defensive lockdown performances. Not having Festus Ezeli didn’t help either, as the Warriors shot just 40.7% from the field, while the Mavs hit over 50% of their 3-point attempts.
Two losses doesn’t put the Warriors journey of being one of the greatest championship teams in NBA history at risk, but it does tell us what this team without Curry looks like. Shots for others are more difficult to create, and while this might have been the more rare occasion of nothing working for Golden State, it shows just how close to a one-team player this team is too, especially if that one player isn’t around to help out.