Their passes were careless, their shots amiss and their legs reluctant. Maybe it was the altitude that affected the Warriors. They were, after all, in Salt Lake City.
More likely, though, it was the attitude.
The Warriors on Friday night didn't bring their usual zesty edge to Energy Solutions Arena and, moreover, didn't seem to make much of an attempt to find it. They were shockingly docile in absorbing a 110-100 loss to the profoundly friskier Utah Jazz.
"We had no energy and no bounce coming out of the gate, and you can't afford to do that against any team in the league," center Andrew Bogut said. "So we deserved to lose."
The loss dropped the Warriors (36-8) from their perch atop the NBA; the Atlanta Hawks (39-8), who beat the Trail Blazers, now own the best record in the league.
One illustration of the Warriors' lethargy that this was the first time all season they've gone through a game without once taking a lead. Another is that they were pounded on the glass. A third is that it was Stephen Curry, who had a game-high 32 points, led Warriors starters with seven rebounds.
Curry is, you may recall, a point guard. The Warriors starting frontline of Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes and Bogut combined for 10 rebounds, as the Warriors were owned 55-41 on the glass.
"That's two games in a row we've been hammered on the boards," coach Steve Kerr said, referring to a 61-48 rebounding deficit against the Bulls on Tuesday. "Our defense has let us down three games in a row. We've given up (114 points, 113 and 110 . . . and gotten hurt on the boards.
"I don't mind the points if it's a fast game; if it’s a high-possession game, points don't always indicate your defensive effort. But the rebound totals do. And the shooting percentage does. They shot about 46, which is too high for us."
Utah (17-30) was shooting 47.4 through the early fourth quarter before finishing the 44.7. Gordon Hayward, a 6-foot-8 small forward finished with 26 points, 15 rebounds (a career-high), six assists and three steals.
And yet it was the Jazz big men who controlled the game. Centers Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert combined for 15 points, 20 rebounds and five blocks and countless intimidations.
"I played horribly today, personally," conceded Bogut, who missed the Chicago with an illness.
The Warriors entered the game with a franchise-best six-game win streak over the Jazz. It was a matchup of the team with the league's best record against one hovering just above the cellar of the Northwest Division.
But Utah clearly wanted this game more than the Warriors.
"We didn't have enough life to win a game on the road against a hungry young team that's playing a lot better," Kerr said, "and they took it to us."
Indeed, from tip to buzzer, about as complete as it could have been.
Curry was the hothouse flower surrounded by withering shrubbery. His 32 points came on 10-of-22 shooting, 5-of-11 from beyond the arc.
Marreese Speights, evidently understanding what was needed, came off the bench to play 17 minutes but still plucked a team-high eight rebounds.
Leandro Barbosa also provided a spark off bench with 15 points in 13 minutes – including 13 in a five-minute stretch of the fourth quarter to lead a rally that was insufficient.
Barnes pulled one rebound in 20 minutes, David Lee grabbed three in 25, Bogut had four in 23 and Green grabbed five in 24.
The league's best defense was shredded by the likes of Trevor Booker (season-high 17 points, 22 minutes, 7-of-11 shooting) and Hayward.
The Warriors were outscored 20-9 in second-chance points.
The Warriors 19-point fourth quarter was the lowest output of the season.
The Warriors usually find a way to squelch teams clearly inferior teams. This was an exception, much like their Dec. 23 loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles. That makes twice this season they walked off the court scratching their heads, wondering what had happened to their collective game.
There are nights when collective game simply does not show up. This was such a night. They lost by 10 but the game was not that close. Maybe they were looking ahead to the Saturday's matchup with an actual contender. They clearly were not looking to crush the Jazz, an appreciably more crushable team.