A season that was supposed to mark the return of the dynastic Warriors was dealt another blow on Christmas Day.
Golden State was thrashed by the Milwaukee Bucks, 138-99 Friday, as it already seems destined for a second straight bottom-two finish, following a run of three titles in five years.
The 39-point loss marked the largest loss on the holiday, while Golden State’s 65-point differential through the first two games is the second worst in league history, behind the 17-65 Clippers of 1988 (71 points).
Khris Middleton’s 31 points led the Bucks, who seem poised to compete for a title this season.
The Warriors, not so much.
After essentially surrendering last season following injuries to Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, leading to a 15-50 record and the second pick in the draft, Golden State was expected to at least compete this season.
But any hopes of a bounce back were dashed long before the season’s tipoff Tuesday, when Thompson, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, ruptured his Achilles tendon during a practice in November, costing him another full season.
Curry, who was limited to just 22 games last season due to a hand injury, was back on the floor to lead the Warriors on Friday, albeit with a pedestrian 19 points.
“It was kind of just scattered and disorganized,” longtime head coach Steve Kerr told reporters after the game, a description that would rarely have fit Warriors teams of the past half decade. “I’m disappointed in that and need to take the blame for that.”
Curry said that “we didn’t expect it to be this rough early, but we knew it was going to be a long process.”
Besides Curry, perhaps the greatest 3-point shooter in league history, in the starting lineup were James Wiseman, the No. 2 pick in the draft, and three other starters who also were not on the last Warriors team to make the NBA Finals in 2019.
Draymond Green, the loudmouth, frenetic defender, missed his second game in a row due to a nagging foot injury.
And long gone is Kevin Durant, who left Golden State for Brooklyn two summers ago, and scored 22 points in the Nets’ opening night 125-99 victory over his former team.
It’s early, but it seems the Warriors may be bound for another lost season. And with Curry 32 years old and Thompson and Green both 30, there’s no telling whether one of the NBA’s most-thrilling dynasties will ever make a comeback.