The Golden State Warriors’ 10-game home winning streak was ended in stunning fashion on Monday, as the Indiana Pacers—playing without Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner on the second leg of a back-to-back beat the defending champions 112-104 at Chase Center. Here are three observations from one of the Warriors’ most frustrating losses of 2022-23.

Missing Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins didn’t play on Monday night, sidelined with soreness in his right adductor. Steve Kerr shed no further light on his status before the game, other than clarifying that he’s not concerned by the severity of Wiggins’ discomfort. All indications suggest he should be back in the lineup come Wednesday night in Salt Lake City.

Thank god, too, because the Warriors sorely missed Wiggins on both ends versus the Pacers.

They were roasted off the dribble again and again early, absent their best on-ball defender. Golden State’s underwhelming length and athleticism with Jordan Poole starting in Wiggins’ place rendered its wholesale switching problematic. The Pacers’ bigs routinely scored on overmatched smalls, the Warriors’ help defense wasn’t nearly as disruptive and an inability to get stops kept them out of transition.

It’s safe to say Andrew Nembhard’s career night would’ve been harder to come by with Wiggins available to put out the fire.

The Warriors’ vaunted post split actions lacked teeth without Wiggins’ size, knack and finishing prowess as a cutter. Their spacing was out of whack, especially on strong-side drives from the slot. Golden State barely got to the rim in the halfcourt beyond Poole, laying bare just how large Wiggins’ ability to attack close-outs as a scorer and passer looms. The Warriors didn’t have anyone to exploit Indiana’s switching on the block, either.

It’s hardly shocking Golden State struggled without Wiggins. He’s played at a borderline All-Star level this season, cementing himself as perhaps the best non-star wing in basketball. The Warriors’ cold three-point shooting shouldn’t necessarily have been a surprise, either; Wiggins has been on an absolute heater from deep for weeks.

Golden State isn’t the same team as it was a year ago. Everything still revolves around Curry and Draymond Green is still their second-most indispensable player, but the Warriors’ just don’t have the quality, versatile depth to withstand the absence of a consistent two-way force like Wiggins anymore.

Good thing he’s an iron man.

Jonathan Kuminga, impacting winning

It was easy to assume Kuminga would be the player to benefit most from Wiggins’ absence. He’s earned a full-time spot in the rotation, after all, and at least provides a reasonable a facsimile of Wiggins’ on-ball defense, explosive finishing and ability to affect the game in the paint on both sides.

Poole started for Wiggins, as expected, and Donte DiVincenzo was Golden State’s first sub off the bench. But then Moses Moody came for Poole and Anthony Lamb got Klay Thompson shortly thereafter, leaving Kuminga on the bench for the duration of the first quarter—a decision Kerr no doubt came to regret very, very quickly.

The Warriors trailed 34-21 after the opening stanza, unable to handle Indiana’s pace and getting dominated around the rim defensively, utterly failing to meet the short-handed Pacers’ challenge. They were down 40-24 once Kuminga finally got off the pine with 8:30 left in the second quarter. He was on the floor for the remainder of the first half, completely changing the game with seamless switching, multi-effort defense and quick, selfless decision-making on the other end.

Check out Kuminga perfectly navigating the Pacers’ Spain ball screen, first switching onto Jalen Smith then taking Mathurin as Thompson stays low. He keeps his hands active as Mathurin gets into dribble hand-off action, knocking the ball from Smith to ignite Golden State’s fast break attack.

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Kuminga never forced the issue offensively, either, once again playing within flow of the Warriors’ offense. These quick-hitting passes for layups are normally reserved for some combination of Wiggins and Draymond.

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Golden State immediately went on a 12-0 run once Kuminga came into the game, turning a double-digit deficit into a brief lead. He finished the second quarter without a break, then was the Warriors’ first player off the bench after intermission, continuing to impact winning.

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It’s head-scratching why Kerr felt the need to prioritize Moody and Lamb in the rotation ahead of Kuminga on Monday, especially with Wiggins sidelined. That certainly wasn’t the Warriors’ only issue, but it’s not outlandish to say the game’s outcome could’ve been different had Kuminga been on the floor to help stanch the Pacers’ early momentum.

Stephen Curry is human

The Pacers sold out to keep Curry in check, switching across five positions and shrinking the defense toward him whenever he had the ball. It’s not at all uncommon for superstars to struggle when the opponent pays as much attention to them as Indiana did Curry on Monday.

But five sets of eyes on Curry is hardly new. He’s been dealing with that type of defensive pressure for the better part of a decade, somehow taking his game to new heights this season in spite of it—until Monday, at least.

Curry finished with 12 points, four rebounds and six assists against the Pacers. He shot 3-of-17 overall and missed eight of his 10 three-point attempts, failing to hit his first triple until the 5:10 mark of the third quarter. Curry air-balled multiple good looks and had a couple careless turnovers, and was simply overmatched defending Nembhard and Mathurin one-on-one. His -17 plus-minus was earned.

Everyone is entitled to an off night, and Wiggins’ absence made it easier for the Pacers to hone in on Curry without the worry of Golden State getting efficient looks near the rim. The Warriors as a whole didn’t exactly come ready to play on Monday, either.

It’s a testament to Curry’s singular brilliance that his performance is so jarring. Unfortunately for the Warriors, it’s also a reminder of just how much they rely on him to play at an MVP level every night.