MEMPHIS -- The trip started so promisingly for Golden State. But it ended with an ugly 108-90 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, leaving a nasty taste in the Warriors' mouths.
What seemed to hurt more than the defeat was how it went down.
Saturday, the Warriors got smacked around. Save for a few spurts, they were owned by Memphis, which has now beaten Golden State in 10 straight meetings.
"It's a terrible feeling," point guard Stephen Curry said after leading the Warriors with 22 points on 18 shots. "Especially against a team that we, since I've been here, haven't played well against. We had a chance to end the road trip on a positive note, and, obviously, getting blown out isn't the best-case scenario. Nights like tonight hurt."
The Warriors squandered an opportunity to announce their arrival as a contender.
They started the roadie by putting then-undefeated Philadelphia in its place, then made Minnesota look like a team fighting for an eighth seed. Without an injured Curry, they were valiant in defeat against Western Conference power San Antonio, nearly stealing a win Friday.
Beating the Grizzlies would've been the ideal cap to the four-game swing. They would have flown home 3-1 on the journey, having knocked off a team they need to overtake for a top-four playoff seed.
But Golden State scarcely resembled the team from the first three games.
The Warriors' offense didn't pack the potency that overwhelmed the 76ers, shooting just 42.3 percent against a Grizzlies defense that had been allowing triple-digit points per game. Golden State's defense wasn't nearly as stingy as it was against the Timberwolves, allowing the Grizzlies to shoot 53.2 percent and rack up 54 points in the paint.
And the Warriors didn't come close to showing the fight that highlighted the loss to the Spurs.
"We just couldn't contain them," Andre Iguodala said after totaling 19 points, five rebounds and four assists. "They were just playing at their will."
One night after holding the Spurs to 76 points, the Warriors got destroyed by the Grizzlies inside. Led by Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, Memphis outscored Golden State 54-18 in the paint.
And the Warriors' great equalizer -- deft shooting -- wasn't clicking enough to offset the inside dominance.
Golden State made just 10 of its 30 3-pointers and missed 12 of its 26 free throws.
Memphis stepped on the gas in the third quarter. The Grizzlies posted a 36-point third quarter, tying for their highest-scoring quarter this season. They made 13 of 19 shots, without much resistance from Golden State.
The Warriors trailed 90-77 entering into the fourth quarter. But they managed just eight points over the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter, before coach Mark Jackson finally waived the white flag.
After taking a 61-60 lead with 9:42 remaining in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Klay Thompson, the Warriors were outscored 48-29 the rest of the way.
"I'm very disappointed," Jackson said. "We didn't execute. They were the more physical team, and it's just a disappointing loss for us. We just couldn't get over the hump. This is a good basketball team that pretty much has its way against us. We've got to figure them out. We've got to figure them out."
So they come home 2-2 on the trip. Not terrible, but not the results that jibes with their expectations -- especially when considering it ended with a back-to-back set against last year's Western Conference finalists.
"That's no excuse," Thompson said. "Bad teams will make an excuse like that. If we want to be great, we've got to do it every night."
Detroit (2-3) at Warriors (4-3), 7:30 p.m. CSNBA
A look at Golden State's first extended trip of the season:
Philadelphia W, 110-90
Minnesota W, 106-93
San Antonio L, 76-74
Memphis L, 108-90