Curry-less Warriors lose big to Mavericks, fall to 29-2

Losing one of the best players in the NBA is a challenge for any team, but it was still unclear just how much the Golden State Warriors would miss reigning MVP Stephen Curry in Wednesday's visit to the Dallas Mavericks. As expected, Curry was declared out for the matchup at American Airlines Arena with a right lower leg bruise, keeping him out for his first game of the season and creating potential problems for a Golden State squad that was already to be without starter Harrison Barnes for the 14th-straight game. However, a stacked Warriors roster including Draymond Green and Klay Thompson had the potential to cover for the absence of the lead Splash Brother. Would they be able to do enough to defeat the No. 5 team in the West?

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No, not at all. The Mavericks started well, won the second quarter 33-21 to create an 18-point halftime lead, and took every quarter in a 114-91 victory that arguably didn't feel that close. Dallas led by as many as 30 in the third quarter and played only two starters more than 30 minutes in a dominant display.

One game is not enough to document the extent of a player's impact, but it's safe to say that the other Warriors missed Curry a whole lot on Wednesday. Green and Thompson each shot 4-of-15 from the field and 1-of-4 from beyond the arc for a combined 21 points, and the offense generally seemed to lack its usual surfeit of options without Curry around to stretch the defense. Golden State made just 40.7 percent of its field goal attempts and took 19 three-pointers, more than 11 fewer than its season average.

Yet defensive struggles exacerbated those offensive issues, with the Mavericks shooting 51.2 percent from the field and 14-of-27 from long range. Six Mavs scored in double figures, including J.J. Barea with 23 points (9-of-12 FG and 5-of-7 3FG). Dallas created and made shots with impressive regularity, playing with a noticeable edge. They knew they'd have an opportunity with Curry out and did not waste it.

Curry is expected to miss Thursday's game at the Houston Rockets, too, but it would not be surprising to see the Warriors improve on their performance against another playoff-caliber opponent. Although it's tempting to focus on Curry's absence as the reason for this one-sided result, the Warriors could have played much better regardless of his availability. All teams occasionally serve up outright stinkers, and this one was arguably most remarkable for how long it took to arrive. With or without Curry, this team is much better than it showed in Dallas.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!