1. Steve Kerr and the Warriors did cruel things to 20-year-old rookie Ja Morant Tuesday night in Memphis, but as I wrote after the game, their tactics there — in arguably their best win of the year — weren’t going to work against 20-year-old Luka Doncic and the Mavericks.
It took roughly two minutes for that to prove true Wednesday in Dallas.
As ESPN’s Tim MacMahon noted on Twitter, if you ever wanted to know what Doncic would do against a G-League team, you found out in the Mavericks’ 142-94 win.
Yes, that was one hundred and forty-two to ninety-four.
Steve Kerr said after the game that he wasn’t even going to look at the tape. That makes sense. Watching it one time is enough to make you question if the Warriors should be allowed to play in the NBA anymore this season.
Doncic scored 22 points in the first quarter, 33 points in the first half and ended the game hella early with a 35-point triple-double in 25 minutes.
It was the fewest minutes played in a 30-point triple-double in NBA history.
As such a stat line would suggest, Doncic — who, again, is 20 years old — was unstoppable; a Jedi master against Padawans. (Yes, I just got Disney-plus — why do you ask?)
There were not insignificant portions of the early goings of this game where he was outscoring the Mavericks by himself.
Yes, it was the second end of a two-city back-to-back, and yes, the Warriors were shorthanded (more on in a moment), but the Warriors had a defensive rating of 141.6 Wednesday, negating any sort of momentum the last two games. They’re back to a 116 defensive rating on the season, the same number the worst defensive team in NBA history — last year’s Cavs — posted.
Yes, Wednesday’s game was all-around terrible for the Warriors.
The kind of game that can scar you for months to come.
The kind of game that makes you think that the Warriors — only a few years after going 73-9 in the regular season — could go 9-73 this year.
Don’t laugh. I know they’ll get players back, but what was D’Angelo Russell going to do to stop Luka Wednesday? Could he have come even close to outscoring him?
Oh, did Draymond Green sit out the game Wednesday because he replicated himself? (Make sure Bob Myers has all the clones signed and ready to go.)
And do you really think that Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry are going to come back to a team that’s deep in the tank? They might screw everything up — unless the worst record in the NBA is locked up by March…
Right now, the Warriors are on pace for 15 wins, but they only play Memphis two more times this season, so maybe that extrapolation is a bit aggressive.
But other than that, things went well Wednesday.
2. As mentioned, the Warriors were shorthanded in Dallas, going with only eight players after Green was ruled out with a heel injury.
You need eight to play an NBA game, per the rules.
The Warriors didn’t make it seem as if the heel injury was anything serious — Green probably could have played Wednesday — so I doubt this scarcity is an issue moving forward.
But with every Warrior playing more than 25 minutes in the end — on the second end of a back-to-back, I did wonder if the Warriors could forfeit Wednesday’s game, load manage the whole team.
I checked the NBA rulebook early in the third quarter. It did not expressly state a forfeiture protocol.
3. Ky Bowman was one bright spot for the Warriors, going 7-for-10 from the field, making two 3-pointers, and dishing out two of the Warriors’ 18 assists on the night. In 32 minutes, he didn’t turn the ball over, either.
At least someone did something productive with the time.
Again, I’m n to advocating the Warriors skip ahead, but it’s hard to see Bowman not getting an NBA contract when his big-club service days expire.