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The Mavericks aren't apologizing for beating the Steph Curry-less Warriors

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Dallas knows Golden State wasn't at full strength, but that shouldn't stop them from enjoying a dominant win.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

It would have been easier to feel sympathy for the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday if they hadn't come into the game 29-1 with the NBA's best offense and second-best defense, if they weren't bonafide favorites to repeat as NBA champions, if they aren't on the verge of getting their head coach and all four of their injured teammates back. So no, the Mavericks aren't apologizing for blowing out the Warriors at the American Airlines Center in a game that Stephen Curry didn't play.

Nor are they aren't letting anything take away from their win, which is the fourth in a row. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle made that clear at the team's shootaround Wednesday morning.

"We talked about both scenarios this morning," Carlisle said then, hours before his team ran Golden State off the court in a 114-91 shellacking. "The one where (Curry) does play, where you have massive problems, and the one where he doesn't, where you have a group of guys on their team that have a ton of pride and are going to be very eager to prove they can win on the road without him. Whatever the scenario is, we have to be ready to play a great team, because even if Curry is not out there, they are a great basketball team."

Without Curry at the helm, it's true -- the Warriors looked mortal. But Dallas wasn't paying lip service: everyone talked about how good Golden State was, with or without the reigning MVP. After all, many feel like Draymond Green is a leading MVP candidate this season, trailing Curry and a few other of the NBA's elite. Klay Thompson has shown his brilliance time and time again. The absence of the Warriors' depth -- Festus Ezeli, Harrison Barnes and Leandro Barbosa -- did Golden State no favors. But the Warriors didn't make any excuses for how they played in a game where they trailed by double figures for the entire second half. Why should the Mavericks?

"We can still win -- we just didn't," Draymond Green said. "We didn't defend well enough and we missed a lot of shots."

And Klay Thompson: "Even when we're not full strength, this isn't something we want to experience. This isn't a locker room that makes excuses. Just a bad game and we've got to flush it out and play better tomorrow."

And Luke Walton: "Our biggest concern and biggest improvement will be on our defense tomorrow night. We gave up sixty points in the first half. We have very capable defenders that are playing still. We got to make it a bigger emphasis, especially on the road in this league. You got to defend. You can't give up that many easy shots. Dallas is a very good team, they keep the ball moving and they wait for you to make mistakes and we made a bunch of them tonight."

And Klay again: "You've got to give them some credit. They did play good defense. But at the same time, we didn't play with the same flow we usually do on offense."

While Curry's absence changes the floor dynamic, removing the team-wide panic defenses feel trying to never give him an inch of space, Dallas held both Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to 4-of-15 shooting. They made other players beat them, like Ian Clark, who led the Warriors in scoring -- clearly a scenario the Mavericks were OK with. And by the game's final six minutes, it had basically turned into a D-League showcase instead of a Western Conference showdown between the first and fifth best teams by record. It was a convincing enough win to make you wonder if the results would have been the same if Curry had played -- although of course, there's no way to tell.

"Obviously, they're a different team without Steph," Wesley Matthew said. "But even without him they're still a great team. We came in with the mentality, mindset, and we played hard."

So no, there was no sympathy for the Warriors on Wednesday. No, the Mavericks aren't going to feel bad. Everyone in the building on Wednesday knew future matchups between these two teams will be very, very different. But Dallas beat the NBA's best team and for one game, who cares about the circumstances?