LOS ANGELES -- Unselfishness sounds like a wonderful attribute. But for Stephen Curry and the Warriors, it is a detriment, one that led to their embarrassing 138-98 Game 2 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Sticking to the game plan that worked in Game 1, Curry inviting the double teams, and sharing the ball proved to be a disastrous idea Monday. Curry's teammates weren't hitting shots, and the Warriors defense was helpless against the vengeful Clippers assault.
The Warriors were laughed out of Staples Center, trailing by as much as 40. They needed their star to carry them to competitiveness. Instead, the nation watched as the Clippers negated his greatness.
Yes, the Warriors head home with a 1-1 series tie, the goal of any road team. But they also go to Oracle Arena with an important lesson: The "others" are not going to beat the Clippers. In order to upset this No. 3 seed, the sixth-seeded Warriors need Curry to be Curry.
"I've got to make plays. I've got to find ways to not let them take me out the game," Curry said. "Double teams, that's the point of why they're trying to do it. I had to get to my spots where I can be efficient even if they're going to double-team me."
Curry the Baby-Faced Assassin is what the Warriors need. Curry the first-team All-NBA candidate. Curry the multifaceted offensive weapon who frustrates defenses with his versatile arsenal.
They need him to score and pass. They need him to draw double teams and beat them. And by no means is it acceptable for him to be reduced to a floor general.
Curry the distributor works only if the recipients of his passes make the defense pay for doubling him. As Warriors coach Mark Jackson points out, Curry is all too happy to oblige.
Monday showed exactly why the Clippers are forcing Curry's supporting cast to beat them. It's not good enough to produce regularly.
In Game 1, the Warriors looked like the Harlem Globetrotters -- whipping the ball around the paint, getting dunks and open 3s. In Game 2, they were the Washington Generals, kicking the ball, missing open looks, too discombobulated to get anything going.
It just shows why stars are so important in playoff basketball. And the Warriors' star was rendered ineffective. By the Clippers' persistent double teams. By an oversimplified game plan. By his struggles getting past athletic, physical point guards.
At halftime, the Warriors were down 26, shooting 43.2 percent with 15 turnovers. And it felt as though they weren't giving their best shot because Curry was just 1 of 6 from the field -- and the last few attempts were forced because he hadn't taken a shot in so long.
Klay Thompson was in foul trouble. David Lee had nothing going. And the Warriors' second unit was getting thoroughly outplayed by the Clippers reserves. Game 2 was a wrap before the Warriors could get their biggest weapon out of the holster.
This team isn't built for Curry to play the pacifist. Golden State has some good players who can hurt opponents on any given night. But in the playoffs, it's about stars. The Warriors have Curry and a host of guys who need the right circumstances.
To beat the Clippers, the Warriors will need all those guys to produce -- Thompson, Lee, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green. And that's in addition to Curry being Curry.
If one positive emerged from the Warriors' shellacking it is that a fire seemed to have been lit in Curry. Who knows why it took so long in Game 2, but with Golden State down 30, he hit another gear.
He stopped succumbing to the double-team so easily and giving the ball up, looking to create his own opportunities. And he did.
He took Paul one-on-one off the dribble. He attacked the paint by splitting defenders. He forced himself to get to the spots he wanted on the floor.
The right Curry showed up way too late in Game 2.
And it behooves the Warriors to figure out how to make sure he shows up on time for Game 3.