OAKLAND — The Warriors chose Christmas Day to do something they’ve rarely done in four-plus seasons under coach Steve Kerr.
On national TV, in prime time in front of most of America, they let loose with a stinker at Oracle Arena, and lost 127-101 to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Warriors were outshot, outhustled and outsmarted by a frisky Lakers team that lost LeBron James to a groin injury with 7:51 left in the third quarter but still rolled.
Here are three takeaways from a game in which the Warriors, who fell to 23-12, never led after the opening minutes:
Santa Claus didn’t bring the Dubs any defense: If the Warriors are to string together an impressive run of games, they will have to do it with defense. It has been inconsistent at best, and it didn’t show up Tuesday night.
Too many late rotations, sloppy switches and half-hearted closeouts contributed mightily to the Lakers (20-14) taking control early behind 52.4 percent shooting in the first quarter and hiking it to 63.6 percent in the second. That’s a 58.1 percent first half.
The Warriors turned it up briefly in the third quarter, after James left, to pull within three (78-75, 2:48 left in the quarter) before the Lakers recovered and pulled away, shooting 55.3 percent for the game.
And this is a team that, in the minds of many observers, doesn’t have enough shooting.
The Warriors victimized themselves with individual breakdowns, and there also were team breakdowns. Most of it, though, was a matter of them not doing enough — with the exception of their third-quarter spurt — to make their presence felt.
Iguodala was a lonely cook: The Warriors don’t often turn to Andre Iguodala for offense, but on this night, they didn’t have much of a choice.
With Stephen Curry struggling and Klay Thompson virtually irrelevant, Iguodala got assertive, responding with a season- and team-high 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc.
Kevin Durant found his way to 21 points, while Curry had 15 and Thompson added just five.
Iguodala, averaging 4.8 points per game this season, was, for most of this contest, the Warriors’ most effective offensive option. He added five rebounds and four assists off the bench.
Odds are the Warriors will lose if Iguodala is the high scorer despite Curry, Durant and Thompson all being healthy.
Thompson still seeking his shot: Thompson had another miserable shooting night, going 2 of 7 overall, including 1 of 3 from deep. His five-point night not only was his lowest of the season but also marked the first time he failed to reach double figures in a game.
Thompson now is 8 of 39 from deep over his last six games. His scoring totals have been, in order, 27 points, 16, 12, 14, 12 and five.
The eighth-year shooting guard entered the game shooting a career-low 33.7 percent from deep.
The man who became an All-Star because of his 3-point shooting has become consistently unreliable beyond the arc.
This post was originally posted at http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/LeBron-Leaves-Early-But-Warriors-Unable-to-Keep-Pace-With-Lakers-503487131.html.