Warriors observations: Late Steph Curry travel hurts Warriors in loss to Mavs

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What we learned as Warriors drop tense nail-biter to Mavs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

They couldn’t stop Luka Doncic, couldn’t keep the Mavericks off the offensive glass and made a series of mistakes in the fourth quarter.

In the end, it was too much for the Warriors to overcome, as they look a 116-113 loss at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Klay Thompson got free for a potential game-tying 3-pointer, but the shot bounced off the rim as time ran out.

With three turnovers in the final 3:12 – one on a disputed travel call against Stephen Curry – the Warriors saw their three-game win streak come to a painful end.

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Six Warriors scored in double figures, led by 32 points from Curry. No one else had more than 14 (Jonathan Kuminga)

Doncic scored a game-high 41 points as the Mavericks snapped their four-game losing streak.

Here are three observations from one of the most dramatic games of the season:

Second-unit continues rampage

Moving Draymond Green to the second unit nine days ago has paid higher dividends than the Warriors could have reasonably hoped, and this game was yet another example.

The second unit – Jordan Poole, Donte DiVincenzo, Kuminga, Anthony Lamb and Green – inherited a five-point deficit to open the fourth quarter and in a little more than two minutes turned it into a four-point lead.

That same unit walked into a 12-point deficit to open the second quarter and needed less than three minutes to trim it to four, effectively putting Golden State back into the game.

It was the fourth-quarter flurry, a 13-4 run, that put the Warriors in position to steal a game they had trailed for all but a few minutes.

Best Kuminga yet

After a dismal first quarter, the Warriors needed juice in the second. Nobody provided more than Kuminga.

Kuminga’s second-quarter numbers – eight points, four rebounds, one assist, one block and a plus-14 in less than 10 minutes – tell an impressive story, but the eye test was downright refreshing.

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The 20-year-old forward was filling lanes, working hard on the glass, getting buckets and, above all, playing the kind of ferocious defense that will make him exceedingly valuable against the league’s most dangerous wings.

This is what the front office visualized when they drafted JK 15 months ago.

Kuminga followed up a very good game on Sunday with the most complete performance of his career with 14 points, a season-high 10 rebounds, two blocks and one assist.

He has made a big leap since posting three DNP-CDs in the first 10 games of the season – so big that he is, for the foreseeable future, a fixture in the rotation.

Death by second-chance points

The Warriors trailing by 12 (36-24) after one quarter despite limiting the Mavericks to 40.7-percent shooting might seem like fuzzy math but it’s not.

It speaks to the power of second-chance points.

There have been numerous games in which Golden State was punished by opponents pounding the offensive glass and getting second and third and sometimes even fourth shots. This was such a game.

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The Mavericks piled up 10 such points in the first quarter – to zero for the Warriors – and recorded an 18-3 advantage for the game.

Golden State won the overall rebounding battle 50-39 but its failure to close out Dallas possessions with solid rebounding made the game an uphill journey.

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