OAKLAND The title of the mystery seemed pretty obvious to most observers of the Warriors in Game 5 of their playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs: The Strange Disappearance of the Greatest Shooting Backcourt in NBA History.
Stephen Curry went 4 for 14 from the floor and 1 for 7 on three-pointers and had nine points in 35 minutes Tuesday. Klay Thompson was 2 for 8 from the floor, attempted no three-pointers and scored four points in 36 minutes.
In short, the Warriors received just 13 points from coach Mark Jackson's historically anointed backcourt in their 109-91 loss, which put them behind 3-2 entering a must-win Game 6 tonight at Oracle Arena.
It's a far cry from Game 1, when Curry scored 44. Or Game 2, when Thompson scored 34, including 29 in the first half.
But Jackson refused to pin Golden State's loss on the "Splash Brothers' " meager effort.
"It's not about their shooting," Jackson said Wednesday. "We didn't play well. We own it, and we move forward. We're disappointed across the board, and it is what it is. Now we make the proper adjustments, because we don't want to put together a similar game."
Both guards found it difficult to get open looks against the Spurs, who rotated defenders at them and guarded the perimeter with a vengeance. When they did get open shots, they couldn't hit them.
They also looked fatigued. Curry is playing on a sprained left ankle, and Thompson has been logging heavy time in the playoffs, averaging 41.2 minutes.
Neither player was available to the media Wednesday. Instead, Jackson downplayed their combined shortcomings and spread the blame team-wide.
"We can make it about (Curry and Thompson), but for us, that's not what it's about," the coach said. "It's a four-point game in the third quarter. (The Spurs) shot 72 percent in the first quarter and scored 37 points. That has nothing to do with Klay Thompson or Steph Curry shooting the basketball."
But without Curry or Thompson setting the tone, the Warriors couldn't keep up the scoring pace in either half despite strong performances from rookie Harrison Barnes, sixth man Jarrett Jack and forward Carl Landry, who combined for 61 points.
Teammates came to the defense of Curry and Thompson, noting that if they aren't getting open, it's a shared burden of responsibility.
"On the offensive end, we have to do a better job moving the ball, setting screens and making the right plays," Landry said. "Because once those guys start getting open, it just opens up the floor for everybody else."
Added center Andrew Bogut: "We probably have to do a better job of getting them open, but for the most part, the Spurs did a great job defensively, and you have to give them credit. They came out and were physical with us, and it seems like Steph or Klay didn't get an open look all night."