HOUSTON -- There are no shortage of people who are happy about Golden State's 109-83 loss Thursday to the Houston Rockets. None of them, though, seem to be in the Warriors' locker room.
"It bothers me, and I know it bothers a lot of guys on the team," guard Nate Robinson said of the talk about tanking. "I don't think that's something we're looking at. We're going out trying to play. No one is trying to lose on purpose. That's preposterous."
After all, the Warriors (19-26) need to pile up the losses to improve their chances of keeping their first-round draft pick this year. Golden State is now 2-5 since trading away Monta Ellis and is inching toward the bottom eight of the NBA.
While many fans are hoping the Warriors tank, those in the locker room are finding downer games like Thursday disappointing.
"The problem is we can't keep having one great highly intense game and then fall asleep the next or get outworked," coach Mark Jackson said. "Obviously, the way we're going to have to win games is we've got to be the hardest working team on the floor every single night. We can't afford not to be because we're not going to out-talent people right now."
Golden State trailed by as much as 30 points to a Houston team missing two starters -- point guard Kyle Lowry (bacterial infection) and shooting guard Kevin Martin (strained right shoulder).
The Warriors, however, allowed rookie Chandler Parsons to put up the gaudiest stat line of his brief NBA career: 20 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in 39 minutes. Also, backup point guard Goran Dragic and Luis Scola combined for 35 points and 16 assists as Houston (26-22) shot 47.1 percent from the field.
The Rockets took advantage of the Warriors' lack of size. With small forwards Richard Jefferson, Dominic McGuire and Brandon Rush forced to pretend they were big men, Golden State was outrebounded by 17 and gave up 58 points in the paint.
The Warriors didn't have it on offense, either. They shot 41.5 percent, turned the ball over 17 times and failed to reach 85 for the first time in 11 games.
"We are putting high demands on guys," Jackson said. "But at the same time, we expect energy and effort. For some reason, collectively, we did not have it. We have to find a way to battle. I know it's asking guys to do a lot, but we have to be better."
One has to wonder how much fight Golden State will have left if demoralizers like this game keep cropping up. The Warriors, after getting Friday off, will play four games in five nights.
Two of them are rivalry games they should have no problem getting up for (Sacramento and the Los Angeles Lakers) and the other two are against Western Conference cellar dwellers (Portland and New Orleans).
"There is no excuse for being tired in the NBA," said Jefferson, who had a team-high 14 points off the bench. "We have a pretty young team, and your body should be able to recover pretty quickly. The last couple of games, we haven't come out with the right type of intensity. We need to improve on that."
"Didn't play well," Jackson said. "From opening tap, did not play well. And with rookies, you're going to get that, but I'm not going to accept it. And neither should he."
"He was very good," Jackson said before Thursday's game. "He was a presence in the paint. He rebounded. He altered shots. He was aggressive offensively when they dared him to make shots."
As for his second start, Tyler logged just 12 minutes. He totaled four rebounds and missed both of his shot attempts.
"He did what we asked him to do," Jackson said.