The Golden State Warriors flopped without Stephen Curry, getting blown out for just their second loss of the season behind 23 points for Dallas’ J.J. Barea in a 114-91 victory for the Mavericks on Wednesday night.
Curry missed his first game of the season with a lower left leg bruise that might keep the NBA’s leading scorer and reigning MVP out again Thursday at Houston. But the Warriors (29-2) still have the best 31-game start in NBA history, a game better than four teams.
Klay Thompson, the other half of the Splash Brothers, couldn’t make up for Curry’s absence, going 4 of 15 for 10 points. Ian Clark led the Warriors with 21.
Zaza Pachulia had 14 points and 15 rebounds and Dirk Nowitzki added 18 and eight boards for the Mavericks, who won their fourth straight game without injured point guard Deron Williams.
The Warriors looked out of sorts almost from the beginning with their sharpshooting star watching from the bench in jeans and a black sport coat.
Marreese Speights threw a pass into the first row in the first half, drawing a rebuke from Clark, the intended target.
And Brandon Rush didn’t play much defense against Nowitzki. First, he let the 7-foot, 37-year-old German go by him for a rare two-handed dunk, and soon after left him alone at the 3-point line for a 75-49 Dallas lead midway through the third quarter.
The 23-point margin was Golden State’s worst defeat since a 31-point loss to Houston in 2013, according to STATS. The worst loss during the title run last season was 15.
The Mavericks went up by 30 at 83-53 on a 3-pointer by Wesley Matthews, who had 13 points. The Warriors, who fell behind for good with 8 minutes left in the first quarter, didn’t get closer than 17 after that.
Thompson didn’t play in the fourth quarter with a mid-afternoon start against the Rockets looming, and interim coach Luke Walton went with reserves for the last 5 minutes in Golden State’s third straight loss without Curry. The first two were last season.
Barea, who has been starting while Williams sits with a left hamstring strain, had at least 23 points for the third time in four games. He is 17 of 22 from 3-point range in those games after going 5 of 7 against the Warriors, who matched a season high by allowing 14 on 52 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
But at least one didn’t count. Devin Harris, who scored 13 points, banked in a half-court shot at the third-quarter buzzer, but the ruling that it was after the horn was quickly confirmed by a replay review.