How Warriors winning NBA-record 73 games hurt back-to-back title chances

How Warriors winning NBA-record 73 games hurt back-to-back title chances

The Warriors won an NBA-record 73 games three years ago, but a former team employee believes that historic run actually might have prohibited them from winning back-to-back league championships.

"It probably hurt them in the end because they expended so much physical, mental and emotional energy getting to that state that they may be probably didn't have enough at the end," Lachlan Penfold, Golden State's head of physical performance and sports medicine in that 2015-16 season, said on the latest Habershow Podcast.

Penfold arrived in 2015 as the Warriors were going through a unique coaching transition. Head coach Steve Kerr had back surgery, forcing assistant Luke Walton to take his place for the first 43 games of the season. According to Lachlan, Kerr was in bad shape after the surgery.

"I came over for summer league, and I met him in the hotel -- he was in a fair bit of pain with his sciatica," Penfold said. "He was struggling to walk at times and had to sit down for a bit.

"He came back before training camp, and I sat down with him one time to chat and he could barely even look at me," Penfold added. "He tried to get through training camp, and he couldn't." 

Walton coached historically well in Kerr's absence, going 39-4. Draymond Green and Steph Curry had career years, and Curry became the first unanimous MVP in NBA history. But one Warriors team attribute is what caught Penfold’s eye. 

"One of the things that I think made that Warriors team so good that year was their refusal to lose, especially when the odds were against them all,” he said. “You're on the road, you're on your fourth, fifth, sixth game of a road trip. You're playing sh—-y, the refs are against you, the crowd is against you, you're 10 points down in the fourth quarter, let’s just pack it in, we'll save our energy for the next game.

“These guys never did that. They played out every game hard, and that's why they had such a great record."

In an effort to keep the Warriors fresh, Penfold advocated for player rest, even talking to Kerr in an attempt to convince the coach to rest his stars for a deep playoff run. Penfold’s pleas didn't work. 

"I had some conversations with Steve at the time,” he said, “and eventually, Steve and [Warriors general manager] Bob [Myers] put it to the players, 'Do you want to go after the record or not, because this is your chance at a record.' And some players did, some didn't, but the majority did, and if you're going after the record, you probably need to play your better players.

“I felt like we needed to rest some of the players. It's interesting: If we had of rested them and they lost some more games and maybe didn't get the record, I don't think there would've been that emotional pressure throughout that postseason and Finals.”

Penfold’s fears ultimately came true. Not only did the team lose Curry for six playoff games with ankle and knee injuries, the team blew a 3-1 NBA Finals lead to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, Penfold believes the Warriors ultimately learned from the experience.

[RELATED: Six Warriors storylines to watch in 2019-20 season]

"You look at the Warriors now, and they've never gone close to that record because I think they realized the pitfalls of chasing it and what it can do on the back end,” he said.

Warriors' Steve Kerr shares childhood story that explains competitiveness

Warriors' Steve Kerr shares childhood story that explains competitiveness

Steve Kerr and Draymond Green have had their fair share of verbal altercations over the years.

Everybody remembers what happened in the locker room at halftime of the Warriors' win in Oklahoma City on Feb. 27, 2016.

But do you remember what Kerr said to Draymond during his NBA Coach of the Year press conference in April 2016?

"Draymond -- don't ever change. Keep yelling at me, I'm gonna keep yelling at you," he said. "It's the best. He provides the edge that this team needs. Without Draymond, we'd be in trouble. We would be too quiet, and too nice."

Kerr recently sat down with NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke and Logan Murdock for a conversation on the "Runnin' Plays" podcast, and discussed how he and the three-time NBA champion are similar. In the process, he told an amazing story.

"We are equally as competitive and we are equally as likely to blow up," Kerr explained. "Either one of us will snap -- he'll get a "T" (technical foul), I'll break a clipboard. It's just the way we're built. That's how much it means to us.

"My family would tell you a story -- when I was about six years old, we had an Easter egg hunt at my cousin's house. They had all the eggs laid out and they had one big golden egg that was the big prize. I didn't find it, and when I saw somebody else found it ... I lost it. I completely lost it -- crying. My poor mom and dad, they were so embarrassed.

"And this kind of stuff used to happen all the time. If I didn't do well in sports ... pitching, if I gave up a hit, I'd throw my glove on the ground. I would snap.

"That's how Draymond is, right? We bonded over our ability to snap."

[REWINDNo more 3-pointers for Draymond? Steve Kerr's mom ...]

Are you also laughing hysterically thinking about little six-year-old Stephen Douglas Kerr throwing a temper tantrum?

Awesome stuff.

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Steph Curry scored 42 points after 18 holes of golf, Andre Iguodala says


Steph Curry scored 42 points after 18 holes of golf, Andre Iguodala says

Steph Curry is not of this world. but you probably already knew that.

The Warriors superstar is the greatest shooter the NBA has ever seen, helping transform the way the game has played over the past five seasons. When he is red-hot, Curry is a spectacle the likes of which the NBA has never seen. He's so unstoppable that even playing 18 holes in the middle of a back-to-back couldn't stop him from going off.

Andre Iguodala sat down with Erik Anders Lang to discuss golf and meditation and told the story of how he and Curry hit the links prior to the second game of a back-to-back and the two-time NBA MVP still went supernova.

"Like, we got a game tomorrow and it's important for him to play well," Iguodala told Anders Lang. "If I don't play well, it's whatever they ain't going to blame me. But he played great that day. He shot in the 70s like he always does ... I shot OK. I shot in the 80s so I was happy around that time. So I might have broke 90 that day and I was happy. I didn't play well that night because I was like, 'Whatever.'

"But he had like 40 that night. He had 40 that night. He killed them. And I was joking with him, 'If anyone on our team knew what we did today ...' Because nobody knew. Steve [Kerr] knew though. Steve was like, 'You guys better play good today.' Then he was like, 'Steph you should play golf every day."

The game occurred April 5, 2017, when Curry, Iguodala and the Dubs beat the Suns 120-111 and Talking Stick Resort Arena. Curry, fresh off a crisp round in the 70s, dropped 42 points and dished out 11 assists. The day before, Curry and the Warriors beat the Timberwolves 121-107 in Minnesota.

[RELATED: 'Authentic' political voice reaches Dubs players, Kerr says]

Maybe Steph should golf before every game once he returns from his broken hand.