Charlotte – The Warriors 102-100 loss against the Charlotte Hornets tonight was seconds away from being their scrappiest, most-unexpected win of the season especially without Stephen Curry. But the night proved costly in the final seconds of play.
Curry left the game just before tip-off, forcing Golden State to adjust their game plan just minutes before the game started. The new starting-five, which saw Mychal Mulder get the start at point guard, struggled as the Hornets took a nine-point lead after the first quarter.
“Our offense is based on Steph, obviously our pace and everything else,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr after the game. “So it took us some time to get our feet on the ground, but once we did, I thought we really competed well and did everything necessary to win the game. We fought and we competed together.”
After warming up, suiting up and expecting to start and play in his much-talked about homecoming in Charlotte, Curry walked back into the locker room just before tipoff after suddenly not feeling well.
“He was going through his usual warm up routine and just did not feel well at all,” Kerr explained. “And so he came back in, saw the Charlotte team doctor, went out, tried to warm up and just wasn’t wasn’t feeling good. So we made the decision — training staff, Steph, and I — we all made the decision to not play him.”
After that tough first quarter, Golden State found a way to come back, forced 25 turnovers on the night despite shooting just 43.5 percent from the court. They almost grabbed a much needed road win until Terry Rozier hit a 20-foot pull up jumper at the buzzer to give the Hornets the win.
“Obviously it’s tough when you lose one of the best players in the world,” Damion Lee added. “But just understanding what is going to continue to make us great. I feel like this was a good game for guys to step up, not necessarily saying do something outside of yourself, but for guys to expand their roles to continue to be aggressive.”
“It’s a tough loss,” said Kerr. “Obviously, they don’t get any tougher than this one, and that’s two straight, difficult, back-to-back losses.”
The Warriors effort fell apart in the final minutes. The referees missed an out of bounds call on Charlotte following a late Kelly Oubre dunk. After grabbing what would’ve been a key rebound shortly afterward, Brad Wanamaker nor Kerr could get the timeout to keep possession.
Instead, the Hornets forced a jump ball, afterwards the Warriors forced a turnover off of Gordon Hayward which led to the Hornets keeping possession. Draymond Green disagreed heavily with the call and was ejected with a double technical after yelling at the referee.
Green’s ejection gave Charlotte two free-throws down 100-98 with 9.8 seconds left, both of which Rozier made to tie the game at 100 before he hit the game-winning just seconds later. With Curry out, Oubre stepped up again for Golden State and continues his recent hot streak scoring a team-high 25 points on 9-for-19 shooting including going 4-for-9 from deep.
The 25-point night marked the third straight night he scored 20 points or more with his last 20-point night coming earlier this month before the current stretch. Despite being shorthanded and poor shooting overall the Warriors outscored Charlotte 40-30 in the paint, 11-5 in second chance points, and 16-10 on the fast-break.
Alongside Oubre’s big night, Andrew Wiggins finished with 19 points and Eric Paschall finished with 16 off the bench along with Wanamaker and Lee’s 14 off the bench.
The Warriors will have Sunday off to travel to New York where they’ll take on the Knicks in their third game of their current four-game road trip.
Photo by Warriors/Twitter