The Golden State Warriors had their 10-game home winning streak snapped by Andrew Nembhard on Monday night, the rookie leading the undermanned Indiana Pacers to a 112-104 victory over the Dubs, scoring a season-high 31 points and adding 13 assists and eight rebounds.
A second-round draft pick, Nembhard made a key three-pointer with 4:26 to go and another jumper less than two minutes later – a move that did not go unnoticed by coach Rick Carlisle.
“He was masterful tonight … 31 and 13, those are high lottery numbers,” Carlisle said.
Perhaps even more impressive and noticeable considering his side were without six players due to injury or illness; point guard Tyrese Haliburton was sorely missed for a second straight game as he nurses soreness in his left groin. In his absence, Nembhard was left to pick up the pieces and he did well enough to cause defensive disarray among the Dubs’ defense.
“He was hoopin’ and I think that starts in the first half for us,” Golden State’s Donte DiVincenzo said. “The guards have to get into it a little bit more.”
The Warriors’ attack had very little in response, with Stephen Curry uncharacteristically quiet, recording only 12 points on 3-of-17 shooting from the field and 2-of-10 from deep with six assists and four boards in 38 minutes. Meanwhile, it was Klay Thompson and secondary starter Jordan Poole who attempted, and failed to, orchestrate a comeback.
This is not the first time the rookie has shocked one of the NBA’s big stars. Just last week, in only his 15th game of the season, he swished a buzzer-time three-pointer against the Los Angeles Lakers, with Lebron James only able to watch on helpless.
“No matter what we do, it’s going to be hard to guard these guys. We had some good fortune with them missing some shots they may normally make,” Carlisle said. “But our guys played with a lot of presence to start the game. We were switching a lot, and everyone was tied together.”
In clinching this latest win, Indiana not only broke the Warriors’ win streak, but also their own three-game losing run, with just a second win in six games.
Although that may be promising for the Pacers, Curry and co’s inconsistent approach to games is alarming. Steve Kerr’s team next face the 14-12 Utah Jazz on Thursday, while Carlisle’s side lock horns with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
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