Mama said there would be nights like this.
The undefeated road trip of the Golden State Warriors came to a clanking halt on Friday night with a 99-85 loss to the Orlando Magic.
The Warriors, who began their seven-game road trip with five consecutive wins, started sluggish with 14 first-quarter points and finished the night shooting just 37 percent from the field.
“We didn’t expect to go undefeated the rest of the way,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “We’ve had a great run. This team beat us tonight. … But the key is for us not to allow the loss to take us back to where we once were.”
The expectations aren’t lowered; they’re just set to realistic.
As the Warriors continue to mature, road losses and poor shooting nights are destined to occur. Golden State still has plenty areas of growth. Jackson said in his postgame interview that his team was a step slow but he still has plenty of confidence in his group.
“We’re not frontrunners,” Jackson said. “We are not going to start pointing fingers and making excuses. Hey we lost, it happens. The teams that are the top teams in this league, they bounce back.”
David Lee shined once again despite the loss, scoring 24 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Lee continued his streak of six consecutive games with at least 20 points or 10 rebounds.
Stephen Curry led the Warriors in scoring with 25 points but tallied just three assists. The tandem of Curry and Lee combined to score 49 of the team’s 83 points.
The Magic, who also delivered the Warriors’ last loss, on Dec. 3 in Oakland, was led by 8-for-11 three-point shooting and 46 points off their bench. J.J. Redick led all Orlando scorers with 16 points off the bench.
Orlando’s bench outscored the Warriors’ bench 49-22.
The battery doesn’t always recharge, even after a win against the defending champs. Traveling legs ultimately become weary, especially in the Warriors’ sixth consecutive road game. The tired legs were exposed as the Warriors fell behind early on.
After dropping behind 29-16 early in the second quarter, the Warriors responded with a 15-5 run to close the gap to three points with 5:34 remaining in the half. But Orlando responded with a 17-4 run of its own to end the half up 51-35.
Call it early-game fatigue or just poor shooting, either way the Warriors lost the game when they shot just 28 percent from the field and 12.5 percent (1-for-8) from three-point range in the first half. The Warriors finished the night 7-for-20 from three-point range.
Trend proves true
The Warriors entered the night with a record of 14-1 when they outrebound their opponent. The loss to Orlando was no exception, and Golden State lost the rebounding battle 53-49.
Social media demands answers
@hippiemd tweeted: “@CSNWarriors How can the Warriors look great for five games but pathetic tonight? #warriorstalk”
The reasonable answer: The Warriors are still a young team, and learning to win on the road is supposed to be the final part of the growth process. Despite sudden results, the team will likely show ups and downs throughout the season.
In other words, it doesn’t always come all at once. Not every game is a measuring stick.
Optimism goes empty tweet of the game
@phiLMLwrote: “big leads are nothing in the #NBA. Pick it up #DUBS. #warriorstalk”
Nonetheless, the #webelong movement continues.
That one hurt
The knees of Festus Ezeli and Orlando's Moe Harkless collided with some emphasis early in the third quarter. Ezeli had played 12 minutes to that point and never returned. He finished with zero points and two rebounds.
Leave us alone, we’re tired
At one point in the third quarter, Jameer Nelson dribbled between two defenders and sliced unguarded through the lane for an open layup. The Magic scored 42 points in the paint and shot 47.7 percent from the field.
Wait a second … oh, nevermind
The Warriors rallied back to single-digits to 63-54 late in the third quarter before Orlando hit three consecutive open three-pointers to push the lead to 72-54.
The Warriors had one last gasp with an 11-3 run in the final moments to pull within 93-83 before Orlando pushed back to the finish.
Follow @jimmypspencer on Twitter for Warriors news and analysis.