Four takeaways from the Warriors’ blowout loss to the Lakers that Steph Curry called ’embarrassing’

Four takeaways from the Warriors’ 128-97 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers (26-13) Monday night at Chase Center. The Warriors (20-20) slip back to .500 one night after a signature win over the Utah Jazz.

“These last two days define our team in a lot of ways,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “In a span of 36 hours, we beat the team with the best record in the league, then lost by 31 points to another great team. We’re 20-20 for a reason.”

Stephen Curry needs help

If the Warriors are going to establish themselves as a bonafide playoff team and avoid the play-in tournament, then they’ll need to be able to rely on someone other than only Curry on a night-to-night basis. Yes, this was the second game of a back-to-back set, but that did not stop Curry from scoring 27 points on 9-for-17 shooting (4-for-7 from 3-point range). Meanwhile, Andrew Wiggins, one night after scoring a season-high 28 points, eked out only 15 Monday and Kelly Oubre Jr. mustered only 12. Both wings combined to take just 18 shots.

The blueprint to beat these Warriors is simple: Curry is going to play at an All-Star level most nights, but limit his teammates and the Warriors’ chances of winning are slim. This is where Wiggins and Oubre need to step up. At this stage, Draymond Green can’t be expected to produce points, but Wiggins and Oubre are young, and have experience as high-volume scorers in their previous stops. Both have done well to learn Kerr’s motion offense and settle into complementary roles. Now, the Warriors need them to take the next step and find pockets of the game to take over.

Lakers dominate the paint

Despite missing Anthony Davis (right calf strain) and Marc Gasol (health and safety protocols), the Lakers still outscored the Warriors 68-40 in the paint and out-rebounded them 46-30. Backup center Montrezl Harrell, in particular, crushed Golden State. He scored 27 points on 11-for-14 shooting in 25 minutes, many of them coming against rookie center James Wiseman. Wiseman struggled against Harrell’s physicality and his frustrations may have led to his technical foul in the second quarter, in which Golden State lost 36-24, for throwing an elbow at Harrell’s chin.

After the game, Kerr acknowledged a “missed connection” on defense as the Warriors allowed the Lakers to shoot 62.8% for the game. Wiseman, who was at times slow to react on defense, may have been that weak link.

“There’s so many lessons for James every single night,” Kerr said. “It’s hard being a young big in this league. There’s so many lessons to learn, so many tricks of the trade, so many pictures that you have to see and recognize and then immediately react to be in the right spot. It’ll be a good tape to watch for him.”

Second unit comes back to earth

Many games will be decided depending on if the second unit can avoid digging the Warriors into insurmountable holes. Against the Jazz, Nico Mannion, Jordan Poole, Oubre, Eric Paschall and Wiseman managed to hold onto the lead established by the starters. Against the Lakers, that unit allowed a three-point deficit to balloon to 11 midway through the second quarter.

“In that second period,” Kerr said, “we lost our competitiveness.”

Maybe it was a lack of competitiveness. Or maybe it was the fact that the Warriors were playing their second game in 36 hours, and that group played a long stretch of its minutes against James, who prefers to play the start of second quarters.

Whatever the reason, Kerr intends to stick with that group for the foreseeable future. That lineup has played just two games together, and it’s been interesting to watch them jell. At times, it looks smooth. Other times, guys are getting in each other’s way. With time, chemistry should develop.

“The only way that you can do that is through experience,” Mannion said. “The more that we play together the better that we will be.”

Curry gets real

After the game, Curry delivered perhaps his most direct quote of the season: “Honestly, we have to get sick of getting blown out because that’s embarrassing. We have to have some pride about how we’re playing. You can lose games, that’s going to happen, but not like that.”

The Warriors ended up going 1-2 in a tough three-game stretch to open the second half of the schedule, and were blown out in both of those losses. Coming up, they get a bit of a reprieve with a game against the Rockets (11-26) and two against the Grizzlies (17-19). This is an opportunity for Golden State to string together wins, get some momentum and build a cushion for playoff position.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing to admit that there’s a lot of pressure on us as a team to win,” Curry said, adding the Warriors have to “take care of business on this road trip.”

Contributed by local news sources

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