BOSTON — The Warriors can't blame the 94-86 loss to the Celtics on turnovers. For they only had 12.
And they can't point to a failure to rebound, as they outboarded Boston by 10, holding the Celtics to two offensive rebounds. They can't even blame it on the defense. Yes, Boston shot 48 percent. But the Warriors allowed seven points fewer than they normally allow.
No, this loss, Golden State's third straight, is a product of the Warriors' offense — which has quietly been a problem brewing for a while now. This is the part of the season where the good teams take their defense to another level.
And the Warriors offense hasn't seemed up for the task.
Friday, they managed just 34 percent shooting, their second-lowest rate of the season, and finished just one point above their season-low mark.
"As these games get more and more important," Curry said. "You're going to see that more often. We have to be as physical as we can on offense. Setting good screens, making sharp cuts and getting to our spots. We can't just float through our offense."
The Warriors' offense looked like a juggernaut when point guard Stephen Curry was lighting up Madison Square Garden for 54 points.
But Friday, the Celtics were determined to prevent that from happening.
Guard Avery Bradley, a defensive specialist starting at point guard since Rajon Rondo is out for the year, pressured Curry constantly. And when he wasn't in the game — his aggressiveness got him in foul trouble — Boston made sure the help was ready.
Curry finished with 25 points on 6 of 22 shooting. He missed eight of his 11 3-pointers. And without him rolling, the Warriors seemed to have nowhere to turn for reliable offense.
Not even All-Star forward David Lee, who returned to the lineup after getting suspended last game, could pick up the slack. He managed just 10 points on 4 of 13 shooting to go with 19 rebounds.
The Celtics pressured, bumped, swiped, grabbed, held and challenged. And Golden State looked as discombobulated as ever. Even guard Jarrett Jack, who has been a steady hand off the bench, had just two points on 1-of-9 shooting.
The Warriors managed just 16 points in the third quarter. The Warriors have scored fewer points in the second half than the first in all four games of the road trip, averaging just 45 points after halftime.
"The level of intensity, the level of physicality — the game has changed since the All-Star break," rookie forward Harrison Barnes said after totaling 16 points on 7-of-17 shooting. I think its gearing up more towards playoff basketball. As a team, we have to adjust for that. The game has gotten a lot more physical. We are allowed to get away with a little bit more." Just the overall intensity, you see a different look in guys eyes."
Curry clearly didn't have it. One game after playing 48 minutes and knocking down 11 of 13 from 3, he looked weary and failed to get into a rhythm. Bradley had a lot to do with that.
"I knew that coming in. I was prepared for it," Curry said after 42 minutes of work. "When you play heavy minutes, it does add on, knowing that you have to worry about him in the back court and trying to get the ball up. He's a great defender."