OAKLAND -- If you needed a gauge for how important Stephen Curry is to the Warriors, watch the replay of Golden State's 88-81 overtime loss to Memphis on Wednesday night.
With Curry in a blazer, out because of a mild concussion, the Warriors had no choice but to play right into the Grizzlies' hands. And the result was Golden State's 11th straight loss to Memphis and the first home loss of the season.
"Obviously he's a big-time player, and not having him hurts us," coach Mark Jackson said. "But the next guy stands up. We are a no-excuse basketball team. I thought my guys gave a great effort. They defended, battled, and we fell short."
The Warriors missed more than Curry's average of 19.9 points and 8.7 assists. They missed the threat he is on offense. They missed the attention he draws from the defense and his ability to make stuff happen.
Memphis met little resistance while grinding the game to a halt. By the end of the night, the Warriors stood only a puncher's chance. But they had no legs to throw the punch.
The Warriors managed to out-duke the Grizzlies for a half and led by as much as 12 early in the third quarter. But over the long haul, Memphis proved to be significantly better at the rough-and-tumble, low-scoring affairs.
"We wanted to push the pace," Jackson said. "I thought that's when the game changed when we started to walk it up the floor. They scored a little bit more, slowed it down by posting up their bigs. There's no secret we are at our best when we are pushing the basketball."
The last time the Warriors played without Curry was Nov. 8 in San Antonio. They stayed in the game with defense, holding the Spurs to 76 points on their home floor. Golden State just couldn't muster up enough offense to capitalize.
The same played out Wednesday at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defense was game for most of the night. Through four quarters, they held Memphis to 35.8 percent shooting. The Grizzlies' 15 offensive rebounds produced just 11 second-chance points.
Where Golden State came up short was on the offensive side of the ball.
"We kind of got in a lull where we didn't score," David Lee said after totaling 18 points and eight rebounds. "The ball stuck a little bit, and we missed some shots we normally make."
They failed to score more than 18 in any of the last three quarters. So when the Warriors got the stop they needed and the ball back with 7.9 seconds left in the fourth, you just knew this would be their best chance to win it.
Jackson said Andre Iguodala, who hit the game-winner against Oklahoma City at the buzzer last week, had the option of calling a timeout to set up a play or pushing it with hopes of trying to catch the defense off guard.
He chose the latter. But whatever openings he saw closed up. His turnaround jumper at the buzzer wasn't even close.
"Andre did a good job of getting to his spot," Jackson said. "I'm fine with the action that took place."
Overtime was all Memphis.
After Grizzlies guard Mike Conley Jr. banked in a floater, the Warriors fumbled around on offense until Lee was forced to heave a desperation jumper. His miss led to a jump hook by forward Zach Randolph at the other end.
Lee converted a layup to cut the Warriors' deficit to two, and Klay Thompson tied the game at 79 with a baseline jumper at the 1:55 mark.
But Conley answered with a 3-pointer. Then after Thompson was called for an offensive foul, Tayshaun Prince put Memphis up five with a wing jumper.
Golden State kept hope alive with an Andrew Bogut dunk with 50.2 seconds left. But Prince followed by nailing a step-back jumper that just beat the shot clock.
The Warriors never scored again. And with all the starters topping 43 minutes, their defense was vulnerable, too. Golden State gave up 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting in overtime.
Golden State is now 1-4 against the projected top six in the Western Conference.
X-rays showed the 7-foot Serbian fractured his fifth metacarpal when he hit his hand on the backboard in the final minutes of the opening period.
Warriors (8-4) at Lakers (5-7), 7:30 p.m. CSNBA
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