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Jonas Valanciunas scores 21 points as Pelicans take early lead and beat Warriors 141-105

By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors are getting booed at home. Frustrated fans are leaving the arena early with their team facing daunting deficits and being dealt lopsided losses.

Coach Steve Kerr believes this star-studded bunch has lost its confidence, its spirit. They’re “fragile,” he said.

“We have to find some fight,” Kerr said. “We may have to resort to some different tactics.”

Jonas Valanciunas had 21 points, nine rebounds and a pair of steals, helping the New Orleans Pelicans jump to a big lead on the way to pounding the Warriors 141-105 on Wednesday night.

Nobody’s faulting the fans for being upset.

“Honestly, I’m booing myself, booing our team in my head because of the way we’re playing,” Curry said about one of the worst losses during Kerr’s tenure.

Curry had 15 points and six assists for Golden State coming off a game in which he shot 2 for 14 and missed all nine of his 3-point tries to score nine points — after he’d gone for 25 points or more in the previous four games.

“Pretty deflating mood, but that’s expected when you get blown out twice in a row at home,” Thompson said.

Kerr also understands all the boos.

“We deserved it for sure, fell behind immediately and I think we’re just lacking confidence right now,” he said. “You just sort of, you get to a stage sometimes where you just kind of lose your belief. And it happens. That’s what’s happened right now with our team the last few days, I think we’ve just lost the spirit and the confidence that has to carry you against talented teams night in and night out.”

Zion Williamson started for the Pelicans and contributed 19 points, seven assists and five rebounds playing 30 minutes after he began the day questionable because of a bruised right quadriceps.

New Orleans, coached by former Warriors assistant Willie Green, won for the sixth time in seven games and in impressive fashion coming off a 133-100 victory at Sacramento on Sunday.

Golden State surrendered a season high in points and most scored by the Pelicans against the Warriors in a regular-season game. The 36-point home defeat is largest since a 37-point loss to the Spurs on March 26, 2007, and tied for the sixth-largest home defeat.

“We’re kind of down on ourselves, we’re upset, we want to play better, especially after last game you don’t want to come out and have another stinker like tonight,” center Kevon Looney said, noting of the boos, “It sucks but we’ve been playing like we deserve it.”

Draymond Green’s return following a 12-game league suspension can’t come soon enough to energize the 2022 champions.

Kerr is hopeful Green might play on the upcoming trip. It’s awfully quiet around the Warriors right now.

“We probably need a pick-me-up, we need Draymond, we need Chris, we need guys who can kind of rally the troops right now,” Kerr said.

Moses Moody came off the bench to score 21 points before straining his calf for the struggling Warriors while Thompson finished with 13.

Golden State fell way behind early for a second straight game and was forced to try to play catch up once more after a 133-118 loss to Toronto on Sunday. Kerr said Tuesday that Golden State needed to play with a greater sense of urgency, which he noted it didn’t show in the loss to Toronto.

The boos came again Wednesday, with a start equally or perhaps more disheartening for frustrated fans after the Warriors allowed a season-high 46 points in the first quarter and trailed by 25 points midway through the second, 58-33. They got to 73-60 at halftime, then each time Golden State threatened the Pelicans regularly had an answer on the other end.

Many in attendance made their way for the exits during the fourth quarter of the nationally televised game.

Trayce Jackson-Davis added 19 points for Golden State, concluding a stretch with 11 of 13 games and a season-high seven straight at home.

Veteran guard Chris Paul underwent surgery Monday for a fracture in his left pointer finger and won’t travel with the team during its upcoming trip. He’s scheduled to be re-evaluated three weeks post-op.

Curry said the Warriors got “embarrassed” and now have to find a way by searching within themselves to somehow solve this.

“We’re not used to this kind of vibe around our team, so we have to acknowledge it, not let go of the rope as they say when it comes to our belief that we can just win the next game,” Curry said.

UP NEXT

Pelicans: At Denver on Friday night.

Warriors: At Chicago on Friday night to begin a four-game trip.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA

Article Topic Follows: ap-california-news

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