SAN ANTONIO — After a third straight loss and fourth in five games, Steve Kerr admitted the Golden State Warriors are going through their toughest regular-season stretch in his four-plus years as coach.
“Oh, yeah,” Kerr said after the Warriors fell 104-92 to the San Antonio Spurs. “But I’ve had a dream run for four and a half years. We’ve had such a charmed existence the last four seasons. This is the toughest stretch we’ve been in.
“This is the real NBA. We haven’t been in the real NBA the last few years. We’ve been in this dream. And so now we’re faced real adversity and we got to get out of it ourselves.”
On top of the issues on the floor, the Warriors are playing without Stephen Curry (strained left groin), while Draymond Green, who was suspended for one game last week for “conduct detrimental to the team,” has now missed the past two games because of ongoing issues with a sore toe.
Kerr remains outwardly confident that his group will get rolling again soon, but he knows the answers must come from within after such a trying week.
“Everyone has to come together and you can’t feel sorry for yourselves,” Kerr said. “You have to commit to fighting and executing, competing for 48 minutes. I thought we did that for maybe 24 minutes tonight. We had a couple good stretches. I was very proud of the group in the second half, got us back in the game and they fought.
“It’s not enough to do that for a stretch and then go through a bad spell. You got to be competing the whole time and playing with some poise and playing with a purpose. I didn’t think we did that tonight.”
Kevin Durant said Kerr’s message to the group has been pretty simple.
“Play with joy,” Durant said. “Just trying to get that joy back.”
Steve Kerr says the Warriors have been in a “charmed” existence the past four years, and this has been their toughest stretch yet.
Despite the recent setbacks, the Warriors remain confident that they will be able to find a rhythm soon.
“It was a terrible road trip as far as wins and losses,” Klay Thompson said. “But we’re obviously short-handed. I’m proud of the way the guys fought. Besides the Houston game, I feel like either game could have gone either way; unfortunately, it didn’t. It’s been a challenging week on all fronts. The best thing for us is just to get away a little bit [Monday], regroup, take it back home and just have fun, play with that joy.”
Thompson and Durant haven’t been able to create as much joy without Curry or Green, as the pair combined to shoot just 19-for-51 from the field Sunday night. Despite the low percentage, Thompson said he wouldn’t change his mindset at all heading into Wednesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“You do the same thing,” Thompson said. “Take 51 shots on Wednesday and you make 35 instead of whatever you made. It’s that simple. This isn’t rocket science. You go out there, you be aggressive, you do what you’ve been doing your whole career. And I think me and KD’s track record proves we’ll be all right.”
Kerr is hopeful the two players will go easy on themselves as they try to find the best way out of this slump.
“They’re both trying desperately to help us get going,” Kerr said. “We rely on them pretty heavily for scoring, obviously particularly with Steph out. But, again, we’ve got to get back to our team identity, which is great ball movement, really good defense, playing off of misses, getting out in transition, and moving the ball, getting great shots. That’s easier said than done, but it’s something we’ve done for many years.”
This is the first time in Kerr’s tenure as coach that the Warriors went 0-3 on a road trip. For his part, Thompson isn’t buying that all the drama of the past week has had an impact on the way his group is playing right now. He thinks the losses have come in large part because the group just isn’t executing.
“I don’t think there’s any drama really that affects how we play out there,” Thompson said. “I think it’s just we’re playing bad on our part. Can’t blame the coaches — us players will take ownership. I guess there’s a first time for everything. Steve’s been here, I think, five years now and for the first time going 0-3? It’s pretty good if you ask me. It’s not the end of the world.”
Thompson believes his team will come back stronger in the face of all its recent adversity.
“We’ll be better from this,” Thompson said. “I know it. Luckily, it’s not April; it’s November, so we’ll be much better.”