CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It wasn't just that the Warriors lost -- again. It was that they lost to the lowly Charlotte Bobcats. And lost handily, worse than the 112-100 score might've indicated.
"I'm embarrassed as a coach and disappointed in my team's effort," the Warriors' Mark Jackson said. "Ultimately, this is the NBA. When you think you can just walk into somebody's building and beat them, it's not going to happen. ... We let them do whatever they wanted to do."
These are the same Warriors who beat Chicago, New York and Miami -- all playoff teams. The same team that went on the road and pushed San Antonio and the Los Angeles Lakers to the brink. The same team that probably should have beaten Orlando on Thursday.
Even without point guard Stephen Curry (sprained right ankle), you'd figure Charlotte is a team the Warriors (3-8) should beat.
The Bobcats (3-9) had lost six straight by an average of 16.8 points, including Friday night's 17-point loss to visiting Detroit. Plus, Saturday's game against the Warriors was Charlotte's third game in three nights.
What's more, Golden State needed this game. The Warriors had this one circled as one they could and should win, the game to get some momentum going.
Problem was, apparently, the Bobcats were thinking the same about the Warriors.
Led by a season-high 26 points from forward Gerald Henderson and a career-high 23 from rookie guard Kemba Walker, the Bobcats shot 50 percent
Golden State, on the other hand, looked like the team finishing a back-to-back-to-back set.
"We can talk about it, say we're going to do this and that," forward Dorell Wright said after totaling 12 points in 26 minutes. "But if we don't perform ... we're just talking for no reason."
The game got away from the Warriors fairly quickly. The Warriors led 21-17 with just over five minutes left in the opening quarter. Then Walker went on a tear. He scored 12 points over the next three-plus minutes. His 3-pointer at the 1:39 mark put Golden State down 34-25. Charlotte took a 13-point lead into the second quarter.
"I don't think it was anything they did," forward Dominic McGuire. "They were hitting shots but ... 38 points for the Bobcats in the first quarter? C'mon."
By the end of the third quarter, the game had gotten ugly for the Warriors, who trailed by 20 entering the fourth quarter. So ugly, Jackson started the fourth quarter with guard Monta Ellis and forward David Lee on the bench.
The Bobcats, who averaged 89.3 points on 42.1 percent shooting coming into the game, had already racked up 93 points on 52.5 percent shooting. And with Ellis struggling, Golden State's offense couldn't keep up.
The Warriors reserves finally pumped in a little life. They began to play some defense, and Nate Robinson scored nine of his 12 points in the fourth quarter. His 3-pointer cut Charlotte's once-22-point lead to 96-88.
Smelling a chance to steal a win, Jackson brought Ellis and Lee back in. But the Warriors got no closer than six points. They headed to Detroit needing to win three straight to salvage the road trip.
"There's no way we should have lost this game," said Lee, who finished with 24 points and 16 rebounds. "We played like (expletive). You can put that (expletive) in quotes."
Mustering all his patience, he is eyeing Tuesday's game at Cleveland as the date of his return.
"If I was in the same mindset I was two weeks ago, just playing regardless of the risks," Curry said, "I probably would've played (at Charlotte)."
Saturday marked the fifth consecutive game Curry's missed after spraining his right ankle for the third time on Jan. 4. He sprained the same ankle four times last season. He had surgery to repair two torn ligaments in the ankle in May. But he said the third ligament is the one that's been giving him problems.
"He understands we need him," Jackson said. "He's hungry and desperate to play. But the most important thing is to have him for the long haul."