Golden State couldn’t get a bucket down the stretch and lost a very winnable game.
The Dubs led 90-88 with 5:05 remaining but were outscored 16-5 the rest of the way. The Pacers followed the blueprint from the Warriors’ recent opponents and paid extra attention to Stephen Curry.
Indiana mixed up their man-to-man defense with a box-and-one that didn’t allow Curry to get going.
Golden State finished its seven-game homestand with a 4-3 record. Here are three takeaways from the loss.
The offense goes stale in the second half
The Pacers were playing their third game in four nights but looked like the fresher team down the stretch. The Dubs were outscored 52-38 in the second half and couldn’t get anything going on offense.
Sure, Indiana was all over Curry, but it wasn’t like it was suffocating the rest of the Golden State Players. It looked like everything was coming up short on the Dubs’ shots, most of which weren’t contested.
Check out Golden State’s shot chart from the fourth quarter:
Head coach Steve Kerr has done an excellent job in recent games of countering opposing defenses that zero in on stopping Curry. Running some more set plays and having the other players on the floor with Steph moving more should help alleviate some of the pressure, which will result in some more open looks.
Without Eric Paschall, the second-unit didn’t provide the boost it has in recent games.
Pachall’s absence was felt early. The Warriors led 28-19 after the opening quarter, but with Curry on the bench to the start the second, Indiana went on a 15-7 run over the first five minutes of the quarter to cut the deficit.
Damion Lee had 12 out of the 21 total points the bench contributed, which isn’t going to get it done most nights with a condensed schedule.
The Dubs’ defense is beginning to come together
It took some time, but the Warriors have finally started to figure things out on the defensive end. After looking discombobulated through the first two games of the season, Golden State has done much better at slowing down its opponents.
Over the previous seven games, the Dubs are tied for the fifth-best defensive rating in the league at 106.8, which is down 9.8 points per 100 possessions compared to the first four contests.
Andrew Wiggins has been much better after starting slowly. He tied his career-high with four blocks against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday and eclipsed that with five swats against Indiana.
Draymond Green’s return has helped immensely. He is the general on the defensive end and is routinely in the right position to disrupt the offense.
Check out his instincts in this clip:
Golden State held Indiana to just 44.3 shooting (32.1% from beyond the arc) but couldn’t get the key stops it needs down the stretch.
If the Warriors can bring the type of defensive energy they did against the Pacers consistently, they should be able to get on some extended winning streaks as the season wears on.
The real Kelly Oubre stands up
We have been waiting to see Oubre at his best all season, and he finally delivered with his best game since joining the Warriors.
Coming into the matchup against Indy, Oubre was shooting 33.6% from the field and a paltry 13.7 from the 3-point line. The 25-year-old came out hot to start the game and had 15 points in the first half, where he went three-for-four from beyond the arc.
Kerr has been giving Oubre a lot of responsibility on the defensive end as well by usually putting Oubre on the opposing team’s best perimeter player.
Oubre did a great job slowing down the Pacers’ leading scorer, Malcolm Brogdon, holding him to five-of-18 shooting for 13 points. His energy on the defensive end has improved as well.
Golden State needs to get this type of effort from Oubre more consistently if it wants to climb up the Western Conference standings.
The Dubs are 6-5 through 11 games and will hit the road for a three-game trip that begins Thursday in Denver.