OAKLAND – Only the truly extraordinary teams avoid bad habits and empty efforts and inexplicable outcomes. The Warriors are not extraordinary. They are not great, either, and they're never far away from being reminded of that.
Their latest came Tuesday, when the Charlotte Bobcats charged into Oracle Arena and never stopped running. The Warriors couldn't keep up and were forced to chug down a 91-75 loss.
"We are not good enough to think that because we are at home that things will work out," coach Mark Jackson said. "We have to play at a certain level, and we did not."
This may have been, all things considered, their sorriest performance this season.
They entered 10 games over .500; the Bobcats were seven under. The Warriors, having lost at Charlotte in December, understood the potential danger and vowed to even things. They were well rested – maybe too well rested. And they were playing before the customary sellout crowd of adoring fans.
The Warriors responded with the kind of game that, no matter how they finish, will be distastefully remembered for its sheer and unrelenting futility.
"We defended well enough to win," forward Draymond Green said. "We just couldn't buy a bucket. You hate it, but sometimes there are going to be nights like that. There were layups. We missed 15 layups. Layups!
"As a competitor, as guys that want to win, you never accept it. These are the types of games that somehow we have to find a way to give ourselves a chance to win. And we didn't."
The numbers were downright ghastly: 31.2 percent shooting, the lowest Warriors percentage since Nov. 12, 2004 – span that includes plenty of dreadful teams. The Warriors were outscored in the paint, 46-32, and in fast-break points, 15-4. Warriors committed 16 turnovers, leading to 19 Charlotte points.
"The problems tonight, the majority of them, were on the offensive end," power forward David Lee said. "Even if we hold some of those and they score 85 points, they'd still beat us."
Lee, battling through a tender shoulder and hip, was typically ineffective on defense but well below his standards on offense, going 3-of-13 from the floor and grabbing three rebounds in 23 minutes.
His despair was shared with the rest of the roster. Aside from 13th man MarShon Brooks, who made his only basket in the final seconds, every Warrior shot below 50 percent. Stephen Curry was 8 of 18, Klay Thompson 5 of 13. The best that Andre Iguodala (3 of 8) and Harrison Barnes (2 of 7) could say is that they were better than Green (0 for 6) or Jordan Crawford (1 for 5) or Marreese Speights (1 for 7).
That's why normally faithful fans were mumbling as they turned away from the action and left the arena. They're puzzled and frustrated and disappointed. The Warriors have lost five of their last seven at Oracle. They are 5-7 since their epic 10-game win streak put them at 24-13 four weeks ago.
"We've got to find a way to get out of this," Jackson said. "We are, right now, taking the life out of the building, letting our offense affect our play.
"Give them credit. They came in and played well. But this is a game we should win."
THE GOOD: Nothing to see here, folks. Take the video directly to the recycling bin.
THE BAD: Horrible shooting, inconsistent team defense, sloppy ball-handling and too many moments when it appeared the Bobcats were more determined. Andrew Bogut, a good defender, was abused by Charlotte big man Al Jefferson (30 points, 12 of 22 shooting).
THE TAKE: The Warriors still don't know who they are, and it's difficult to watch their evolution. It was, on this night, painful. They've lost enough to know where they stand. They're good, and sometimes the good teams don't show up. They'll never be better than good until they understand their experiences and apply what they should have learned.