The value of Stephen Curry was reinforced Sunday night, and the Warriors experienced it the hard way.
With Curry sitting out after tweaking his right ankle Friday night, the Warriors failed to create a consistent rhythm on offense as the game went on and wound up 106-98 losers to the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Klay Thompson did his part to carry the scoring load in the absence of the team leader, finishing with a game-high 39 points. The next highest scorer for the Warriors was Andre Iguodala, who came off the bench to put in 14 points.
The other four starters -– Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Draymond Green and Shaun Livinston (who started for Curry) –- combined for only 24 points. The starting front line of Barnes, Bogut and Green combined for 6-of-23 shooting from the field.
The Warriors (43-10) started well enough, shooting 56.5 percent in the first quarter, but shot only 31.8 percent over the final three quarters.
The Warriors were torched by the Indiana bench, which totaled 63 points to 35 for Warriors reserves. Guards Rodney Stuckey (30 points) and CJ Watson (14) proved particularly difficult to contain.
Thompson wins the honor by a wide margin, as he had precious little reliable help on offense.
Attacking the basket as well as launching from deep, Thompson was 12-of-28 from the field, including 5-of-13 from 3-point distance. He made all 10 of his free throw attempts while playing 37 minutes.
This one was up for grabs until a Pacers possession ended with C.J. Miles draining a 3-pointer with 26.5 second left to give Indy a four-point cushion (101-97).
The Warriors trailed by as much as nine early in the fourth quarter before rallying to narrow the gap in the final minutes. They never were able, however, to take the lead.
The Warriors announced 90 minutes before tipoff that Curry would miss the game after tweaking his right ankle in the victory over the Spurs on Friday night at Oracle Arena.
The Warriors travel to Washington, where on Tuesday night they face the Wizards.