The Golden State Warriors fell apart in crunch-time again on Sunday, squandering a 12-point lead over Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets—playing without Kevin Durant, remember—midway through the fourth quarter en route to a 120-116 loss. It was another wholly dispiriting late-game performance from the defending champions, just a few days after their fourth quarter collapse allowed the Boston Celtics to steal a win in overtime.

Frustrating as those clutch struggles were for the Warriors and Dub Nation at large, it's not like they were all that surprising. Golden State has underperformed during crunch-time since 2022-23 tipped off, its 11-13 record and -3.6 net rating (17th in the league) in close games both relatively pleasant surprises considering just how many wins this team has seemingly given away over the season's first half.

Asked about the Warriors' sense of urgency with the postseason fast approaching, Steph Curry insisted his team is meeting the moment. Still, the reigning Finals MVP's blunt assessment of Golden State's lack of “winning execution” speaks volumes about how much it needs to improve down the stretch of tight games.

“It's high. We're talking about it. We're saying all the right things in the locker room. Our prep for the games and all that seems like we're locked in,” Steph Curry said following the loss to Brooklyn. “We understand that the moment is now to go on a run, but we keep hittin' these speed bumps and not taking advantage of how our guys played in Cleveland. In moments like that where you feel like, ‘Alright, this is our time to turn it up,' and we're right back in this position where you're struggling to find any type of winning execution down the stretch, or even just over the course of putting together 48 minutes. Our sense of urgency is high, we're saying all the right things. We just gotta go do it.”

Steph Curry, unfortunately, hasn't been his typically stellar self in crunch-time all season.

After missing all four of his field goal attempts and scoring just two points in the last five minutes against the Nets, Curry is down to ugly 40.4% shooting overall and 30.8% from deep in crunch-time this season, especially damning given his sky-high 40.8% usage, per Even worse? The Warriors' net rating with Curry on the floor in the clutch is an ugly -15.9, unable to both score efficiently and string together stops.

Golden State, obviously, has the track record to quickly turn its late-game fortunes around. But Kerr's ever-changing lineups in crunch-time of his team's loss to Brooklyn point at the challenges of chemistry and continuity the Warriors are facing in the most important moments, ones prompted by a lack of their versatile, experienced depth.

Maybe Jonathan Kuminga takes hold of a semi-permanent clutch role, giving Golden State the flexibility and athleticism it needs around Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green. Perhaps the Warriors' new starting lineup manages to find the defensive effectiveness that was absent versus Brooklyn, Jordan Poole's presence making offense far easier to come by. It would hardly be surprising if Kevon Looney becomes Golden State's most used fifth man in crunch-time, Kerr settling for two-way reliability above all else.

Either way, Curry and the Warriors still have many questions to answer in the clutch as the second half of the regular season gets in full swing.