Scooby Axson
Thursday December 31st, 2015

DALLAS — Four hours before the tip-off of Wednesday’s game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Golden State Warriors, about 30 fans gathered outside of the American Airlines Center just in case by luck there was a ticket available to see the league’s hottest team and the arguably one of the game’s best players.

None of those fans were wearing Mavericks apparel, but instead donned the Warriors’ unmistakable white, blue and yellow garments that can be spotted from a few hundred yards away.

If those fans were disappointed finding out hours later that reigning MVP Stephen Curry was not playing due to a lower left leg injury, they were more disappointed once they got inside the arena.

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J.J Berea led six Mavericks in double figures with 23 points, scoring 11 of team’s first 18 points and added six assists as the Mavericks handed the Warriors only their second defeat of the season with a 114–91 thumping. It was Golden State’s biggest loss since a 31-point defeat to Houston two seasons ago.

Despite the loss, Golden State (29–2) still boasts the best 31-game start in league history.

“We just came out with a lot of energy from the start. And that’s important in these type of games,” Barea, who hit 5-of-7 from three, said.

Jim Cowsert/AP

Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle stressed a few things to his players before the game: limit three-point makes, stop their lethal fast break and create turnovers by getting hands into passing lanes. He also heaped high praise on do-it-all playmaker Draymond Green calling him “special” and likening him to a quarterback on the floor who is reinventing the position of power forward.

Mission accomplished on all three.

The Warriors were never competitive and made no excuses after the blowout, instead focusing on getting better for the rest of the season. 

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“We can’t dwell on what happened tonight, we just have to move on,” said Warriors interim coach Luke Walton said. “We can’t give up 60 points in the first half like we did and expect to win.”

The Warriors problems were confronted by the things they usually excel in: great shooting and great defense. Golden State shot 41%, (36% from three) and allowed the Mavericks to hit 14-of-27 beyond the arc. They were also outrebounded 40–29.

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With less than eight minutes to go, Barea dribbled around for an entire possession only to hit a fadeaway jumper that left the Warriors bench in disbelief and served as a microcosm of their night.

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The defending champs were without Curry as well as Festus Ezeli (sore left toe), Leandro Barbosa (sprained left shoulder), and Harrison Barnes, who missed his 13th straight game with an injured ankle. Barnes won’t play in Friday’s game against the Houston Rockets, while Curry, listed as day-to-day, is questionable for that game.

Golden State trailed by 19 points in the second quarter and as many as 30 in the third. They got no closer than 17 the rest of the way.

“I thought that our guys did a very good job of staying focused even though they didn’t have Curry,” Carlisle said. “We didn’t want to have an emotional letdown, knowing the building was going to be full. They got some great players and we wanted to make it hard on their best players and attack them with our depth.”



The Warriors had won five straight since a 108–95 defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 13, breaking their NBA-record 24-game winning streak to open the season.

Ian Clark led Golden State with 21 points off the bench, while Andre Iguodala and Marreese Speights each added 12.  Curry’s replacement in the lineup, Shaun Livingston scored eight.

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Despite the loss, the Warriors still have a 2 1/2 game lead over the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference.

Dallas (19–13) has now won four games in a row, all without starting point guard Deron Williams in the lineup. But Carlisle stressed the tough road ahead. The Mavericks play 19 games in the next 32 days. 

“We have to be very rested, very focused,” Carlisle said. “We are getting into a real grind and we have to be tough.”

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