OAKLAND – In a season of puzzling and surprising Warriors defeats, this one was, all things considered, the worst.
From the ordinary opposition to the showcase element of national TV to their newfound vigor, conditions were ripe for the Warriors to remind observers that they matter.
They responded with a 104-102 loss to a Spurs team without Tim Duncan and Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.
David Lee's 32 points and Stephen Curry's points (30) and assists (15) could not prevent the Warriors from falling to the likes of Marco Belinelli (28 points), Kawhi Leonard (21) and Patty Mills (20).
The Warriors won the battle of the boards (47-39), as they have made a habit of doing. They also shot better (47 percent to 45). They did not play better.
And the Warriors were, yet again, turnover machines, committing an astonishing 24, leading to 31 San Antonio points.
STANDOUT PERFORMANCE: Curry and Lee brought impressive offensive numbers. Andrew Bogut commanded the boards, with 18 rebounds. It wasn't enough to offset the shooting of Belinelli, a former Warriors draft pick, and Mills, the former Saint Mary's College star.
TURNING POINT: With the game tied 102-102 and 2.1 seconds remaining, Spurs center Tiago Splitter tipped in a missed tip by Boris Diaw, off an errant jumper by Belinelli.
The Warriors could only put up a prayer by Curry that did not come close.
INJURY UPDATE: Centers Jermaine O'Neal (surgery, right wrist), Festus Ezeli (surgery, right knee) and Ognjen Kuzmic (surgery, right pinkie) are out indefinitely.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Warriors on Saturday finish a three-game homestand against the Lakers, visiting Oracle Arena without superstar Kobe Bryant.
Barely a week after returning to the lineup in the wake of surgery on his Achilles, Bryant injured his left knee and his expected to miss up to two months. Not that Bryant's absence mattered when the teams last met, on Nov. 22, when the Warriors took a 102-95 loss at Staples Center -- the same game Andre Iguodala injured his hamstring.