DALLAS — Not four minutes into the first quarter, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic brought the ball up the left side of the floor, checked the distance between him and Warriors guard Alec Burks, stepped back and uncorked a 3-pointer. All Burks could do after watching the ball swish through the net was drop his arms, let out an exasperated sigh and jog back on offense.
One night after a feel-good win in Memphis, the Warriors suffered their worst loss since 1973, falling 142-94 to the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday at American Airlines Center. Wednesday’s loss was yet another moment in what has been a humbling season for a franchise coming off five-straight trips to the Finals,
Burks’ long breath came in the face of a historical night by Doncic, as the 20-year-old MVP candidate finished with 35 points on 10-of-18 shooting (including 6-of-10 from 3-point range), 11 assists and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes.
The Warriors found out early they didn’t have an answer for Doncic. With forward Draymond Green a late scratch with right heel soreness, Golden State’s defense allowed Doncic to put up 22 points on 7-for-8 shooting, five rebounds and five assists.
According to ESPN, Doncic became the first player to outscore, out-rebound and out-assist a team in a quarter since Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson did it to the Chicago Bulls in February of 2003.
By halftime, the Warriors trailed 74-38. As the defense struggled to run interference on Doncic, the offense struggled to keep up, having missed 30 of their 44 shots in the first half.
Doncic used the second quarter to check off another historical milestone. With 33 points on 10-of-11 shooting (including 6-of-7 from 3-point range), six assists and five rebounds in 17 minutes, he became the only player with 30 points and five assists on 90% shooting in a half over the last 20 seasons, per ESPN.
This is the issue for a Warriors team missing their most talented players. Without Stephen Curry (broken left hand), Klay Thompson (ACL), D’Angelo Russell (thumb) and Green, the Warriors lack top-end talent compared to a Mavericks team poised for a playoff run.
Against the rebuilding Grizzlies, a strong defensive night, some streaky shooting and a hustling mindset is enough to earn a win. Against a playoff team deep with rotation players and led by one of the most exciting young players in the league, it’s not.
Two-way contract guard Ky Bowman started in Green’s place, and finished with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting and two assists. Bowman, a proponent of guarding full court, did not shy away from guarding Doncic. Coach Steve Kerr has been impressed by the undrafted rookie’s confidence.
Leading the Warriors in scoring was rookie forward Eric Paschall, with 22 points on 8-of-19 shooting to go along with seven rebounds.
Next, the Warriors will go to Utah to play the Jazz on Friday.