What we learned as Warriors squander hot start in loss to Pacers

What we learned as Warriors squander hot start in loss to Pacers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO – Stephen Curry had 25 points and 10 rebounds, but the Warriors struggled through another rough game at home and couldn’t disrupt the Pacers’ mojo at Chase Center, losing to Indiana 123-111 on Friday night.

Klay Thompson added 17 points off the bench for Golden State. Chris Paul had 12 points, six rebounds and four assists but was called for two technicals and ejected late in the fourth quarter. Brandin Podziemski had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The Warriors (36-33) entered the night a half game behind the ninth-place Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference but fell to the Pacers after a sloppy third quarter and never recovered.

Indiana improved to 5-0 at Chase Center. The Pacers are the only NBA team that is undefeated at the Warriors’ home on the edge of the San Francisco Bay.

Golden State got within seven, 116-109, with 3:07 remaining following an alley-oop dunk by Jonathan Kuminga and a short jumper from Andrew Wiggins.

The Warriors lost despite allowing just 20 points over the final 12 minutes.

Golden State leaves Saturday for a five-game road trip beginning in Minnesota on Saturday.

Curry got the Warriors going and scored 13 of the Warriors’ 38 points in the first quarter. Thompson shouldered the scoring burden after that, pouring in 10 of his points including a pair of smooth 3s in the second quarter.

Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton was a problem all night and kept the Pacers (40-31) close. He nailed a 30-foot runner that beat the buzzer and trimmed Golden State’s lead to 67-66 at the half.

Here are the takeaways from Friday’s game:

Tough times in the third

The Pacers pulled away in the third quarter when they focused more on driving the paint rather than settling for jumpers.

Indiana had a clear size advantage and it showed, as the Pacers repeatedly got inside with little to no resistance. They were particularly effective in transition and got several easy layups because of it.

A lot of that was because the Warriors went cold offensively, connecting on only 30.7 percent (8 of 26) of their shots.

The Dubs also committed a handful of silly turnovers that enabled Indiana to get out running while outscoring Golden State 36-21 in the quarter.

Kuminga and Wiggins MIA

Kuminga and Wiggins have been the wild cards for the Warriors during the second half of the season. When they’re going well, the rest of Golden State seems to follow and good things happen. And when they’re off, the dynamic of the team changes significantly.

Kuminga, who has been a scoring machine over the past six weeks, was noticeably quiet for most of Friday night. Rather than driving powerfully through the lane, he settled for mid-range jumpers and 3-point attempts. Even when he tried to go to the rack, he didn’t find many clean avenues to get through.

The young forward missed nine of his first 10 shots, then appeared to break out of it in the third when he made a steal and raced down court for a powerful dunk that has become his trademark.

Kuminga had a chance at a second breakaway dunk moments later, but the ball got caught on the rim and bounced away.

Wiggins was coming off one of his best all-around games of the season but never found any sort of flow against the Pacers.

No 3-point flow

The Warriors never found a rhythm to their 3-point shooting and had an equally tough time trying to contain the Pacers from the perimeter.

Wiggins, Kuminga, Green and Moses Moody were a combined 0-for-10 behind the arc. Curry shot 6 of 18 while Thompson was 3-for-10. Podziemski went 3-for-5 to keep the team’s total respectable.

Defensively, the Warriors allowed far too many open and easy looks to the Pacers.

Two days after surrendering 18 threes to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Warriors had more troubles closing out on shooters. The Pacers were 15 of 36 (41.7 percent) on distance shooting, the 18th time in 68 games that opponents have made 15 or more from deep.

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