ORLANDO – Normally, Stephen Curry plays with joy. After the Warriors' 103-96 loss to the Orlando Magic on Thursday, Curry only felt frustrated.
"Steph is there; he's fighting a bit, "Warrior coach Steve Kerr said, heading to the locker room. "He knows that he has had a lot of throws open tonight that have not gone."
The Warriors played without two key playmakers, Kevin Durant (rest) and Andre Iguodala (sick), the latest sign of a championship-proven team showing more priority in optimizing health than collection of totals of stuffing victories in February. For a moment, though, it appeared that the Warriors could just trust Curry. After all, the Warriors had cemented a series of 21 wins in advance in games played by Curry while Durant sat.
Instead, the Warriors (43-19) lost their third game in the last five games. Curry finished with 33 points, but 12 shots out of 33. After scoring 11 points in the third quarter, Curry only managed one shot in the fourth quarter in six attempts.
"Every time I feel like it's coming back," Curry said. "It's frustrating when you look decent to stay ahead and do not go there."
The Warriors (43-19) dropped, at least temporarily, to second place in the Western Conference standings behind the Denver Nuggets (42-18). After winning three NBA championships in the past four years, the Warriors are aware that rarely the most important events take place during the February regular season games.
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Therefore, Curry chuckled and simply said "no" when asked if the recent warrior fights concerned him. He could not say the same thing in his room.
This game did not necessarily offer a case study of what might be the life of the Warriors if Durant were to survive this summer as a free agent. First of all, the Warriors also missed Iguodala, who was suffering from an unspecified illness shortly after Friday's defeat in Miami. Two, the Warriors have had difficulties since the breakthrough of the match of stars with Durant in the formation. Thirdly, the DeMarcus Cousins will probably be gone next summer. His 21 points and 11 rebounds for his fifth consecutive double at the last sign, it will probably generate more interest than a one-year exception for taxpayers of $ 5.3 million.
Despite the shallow depth of the Warriors, Curry was brought to play "extremely aggressive". Klay Thompson added 21 points on 9 out of 23 shots, but the Warriors were missing out on Curry, Thompson and Cousins. Alfonzo McKinnie scored four in two out of seven shots to replace Durant in the starting lineup. The bench of warriors combined for 12 points.
After keeping the magic at a maximum of 11 points in the third quarter, the Warriors still conceded 52 points and 20 breakpoints. The mediocre shots of the Warriors (collective 39 out of 97, 9 out of 20) and the weak movement of the ball (16 assists) forced Curry to impose an excessive load.
"Be yourself, do not complicate things," said Thompson, playing without Durant and Iguodala. "We have a lot of talent to win baseball games, even with the guys out there. on Steph, which is difficult, the teams are getting ready for us. "
A few snapshots captured the progress and struggles of both Cousins.
The positive: the cousins attacked the rim more coherently. On a second-quarter game, Cousins forced a turnover, paused and finished the basket. It seems more comfortable to play by contact.
"I'm finding my pace, picking my places and being aggressive," said Cousins. "It was a good opportunity for me to finish on the edge."
Negative points: The Cousins scored 0-4 out of 3. After shooting 46.2% of the distance in five games in January, Cousins shot only 20.7% against three in seven in February.
"It'll end up falling. My daughter and I are not on the same page yet, "joked Cousins. "We will understand things."
Cousins also had trouble understanding when he ended the game. After leaving Iguodala, Kerr said that he had determined the sideline in the following way: "Find the right combination and try to win the game."
Although Kerr called second year striker Jordan Bell "fantastic" for scoring six points in three minutes and eight rebounds in 13 minutes, Kerr picked Cousins for the 2:49 final with Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green and Jonas Jerebko.
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Then the warriors had a 94-90 lead. But then, Cousins made a turnaround, missed a hook shot, caught a foul and missed a 26-footer. Magic's center, Nikola Vucevic, also scored against Cousins at the post and on a putback. To be fair, Curry (0 of 1) and Thompson (0 of 2) were both cold during this trip. Add it all up, though, and the magic has closed this stretch with a 13-2 run.
"A lot of stupid mistakes on the stretch," said Cousins. "I have not finished some games, some missed rebounds and missed shots. Many missed opportunities. It's about us in the expanse. "
The Cousins returned to Orlando after sitting against Miami on Wednesday, because of what the team called "Load Management / Achilles Recovery". Kerr said Dr. Rick Celebrini, director of sports medicine and Warriors' performance, had not yet decided whether the Cousins would be present. No matter what part of the last three back to back of the team. This includes a back-to-back route in San Antonio (March 18) and Minnesota (March 19), a house opposite Dallas (March 23) and Detroit (March 24) and another back-to-road road. . in New Orleans (April 9) and Memphis (April 10).
Will cousins push to play?
"I believe that's ultimately the plan," said Cousins. "I'm listening to the training staff and what he thinks is best for me to go forward."
The Warriors normally find that Kevon Looney is reliable and that Bell is unpredictable. Recently, however, Looney and Bell have changed positions.
In one match as a starting center and another as a reserve, Looney has been shown aimlessly in the last two games by combining two missed shots. Meanwhile, Bell continued his 10-point performance on six out of 10 shots and six rebounds against Miami with six points on three shots at three and eight rebounds against Orlando.
Small size of the sample, of course. However, as the playoffs approach, these small snapshots could help us determine who will stay in the rotation.
The laughs told the whole story. Curry, Thompson and Cousins all laughed at the charm of their worries about the state of the team.
"It could be a lot worse," said Thompson.
Still, the Warriors have a steeper test against potential playoff opponents this week in Philadelphia (Saturday) and a two-game home encounter against Boston (Tuesday) and Houston (Friday).
"It's getting harder every year," said Kerr. "But we are still in a good position and we are positioning ourselves well."
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