SAN JOSE – If you’re looking for positive takeaways from the Warriors’ 105-96 win over the Sacramento Kings on Thursday night, there are two.
One: Kevin Durant is looking more and more like the Kevin Durant we’ve seen for most of his nine-year career, as he shot well, defended adroitly and continues to ease into the team’s style of play.
Two: The Warriors bench, even though under reconstruction, has better goods than the players coming off the Sacramento bench. Led by Ian Clark and rookie Patrick McCaw, they rallied from a 96-91 deficit with 3:18 left to overtake the Kings with 14-0 closing run.
Other than that, the largely tedious exercise at SAP Center best served the Warriors as a natural reintroduction to Camp Kerr, which enters Phase II on Saturday, after the team takes a breather on Friday.
Coach Steve Kerr, whose biggest pet peeve is turnovers, now has plenty of ammo. The Warriors committed 24, 15 of which came in the first half during which the starters accounted for 111 of the 120 total minutes.
“Sloppy, sloppy,” Kerr said of the first 24 minutes. “That’s what we talked about before the game was execution. I knew there wouldn’t be great energy tonight. We expended a lot of energy the other night against the Clippers in a home game on national TV. This was kind of a natural letdown game and preseason, all that. I was really trying to implore our guys before the game to take care of the ball and execute. Unfortunately, we didn’t do it.”
The first-half turnovers were a team effort, with Draymond Green, Stephen Curry, Zaza Pachulia and Durant combining for nine, while Andre Iguodala came off the bench to commit three in 12 minutes. The miscues surely contributed to the Warriors being down five (55-50) at the half.
“A lot of turnovers,” was Green’s description of the half. “We came out the gate and didn’t get stops. You’ve got to give them some credit but we’ve got to be better on the defensive end. They shot 18 more shots than us in the first half. It’s hard to have a great half when that’s the case.”
The Warriors, in three preseason games, have committed 65 turnovers. Because there is so much change – two new starters (Zaza Pachulia and Durant) and a new key reserve (David West) – there is a feeling-out process that at times can result in some downright hideous moments.
Which is where Camp Kerr comes in. The Warriors will get in at least five practices before their next game, Oct. 14 at Denver. Kerr will dedicate most of that time to intensify the education of the new players.
“It’s all new and it’s all going to take some time,” Durant said. “We just have to be patient.”
Though Kerr is bothered by the turnovers, neither he nor his players consider them a threat to sabotage the goals of the team.
“It’s preseason and these guys are vets,” he said. “They know the long grind ahead and they know they have to clean some things up and I’m confident that they’ll do so.”