Without Stephen Curry, Warriors routed by Mavericks

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Stephen Curry‘s MVP campaign? Stronger than ever.

The Warriors’ chase of 72 wins? On shakier ground.

With Curry out due to injury, Golden State suffered its most lopsided defeat of this season or last –  a 114-91 loss to the Mavericks.

The Warriors had struggled when Curry sat, but few expected his first missed game of the season to produce such a drastic result. Dallas built a 16-point lead early in the second quarter and never looked back.

Klay Thompson (10 points on 4-of-15 shooting) and Draymond Green (11 points on 4-of-15 shooting) both struggled in bigger offensive roles. Though they’re quality players, Curry drives Golden State’s offense.

At 29-2, the Warriors are still real threats to match the 1995-96 Bulls’ record of 72-10. But it’s a pursuit that gives little margin for error. If Curry – who’s listed as day-to-day with a bruised lower left leg – misses enough time, Golden State might have to pivot to more-modest goals – like just a championship.

For most teams, injuries like this happen without consternation. Losses like this happen without consternation. But the Warriors’ success has drawn increased attention.

That’ll boost Curry, whose production is still somehow considered by too many to be a product of Golden State’s system. The Warriors won’t always play this poorly without him – beginning, they hope, tomorrow at the Rockets – but this game leaves a mark. Suddenly, a team that is outscoring opponents by more than 13 points per game is losing by 23. If Curry were a system player, Shaun Livingston would’ve looked a lot better starting in his place.

Sitting Curry should only help him be ready for the playoffs. If he gets fully healthy soon, Golden State will be right back in pursuit of 72 wins.

In the meantime, it was jarring to see the NBA’s best team lose so badly. But that’s just what happens without the NBA’s best player.