Warriors

Kerr abandons Warriors...sort of

Kerr abandons Warriors...sort of

OAKLAND -- Steve Kerr walked out on the Warriors on Monday, taking his assistants with him. Told the players to coach themselves.

They did, and quite well, rolling to a 129-83 rout of the hapless Phoenix Suns.

Kerr could not have done a more effective job had he supervised the morning shootaround, wielded the greaseboard and sweated every play call.

“I thought it was great,” general manager Bob Myers said of Kerr’s one-game experiment. “That’s easy to say now that we won.”

Understand, though, Kerr didn’t physically leave the team. He and his staff were on the bench throughout the evening at Oracle Arena, but they limited their authority to deciding who and when to substitute.

During timeouts, Kerr generally chatted with his assistants away from the bench, leaving the players to themselves, as he had during pregame and at halftime.

“It’s their team,” he said. “That’s one of the first things you have to consider as a coach. It’s not your team. It’s not Bob Myers’ team. It’s not (CEO) Joe Lacob’s team -- although I’m not going to tell Joe that. It’s the players’ team and they have to take ownership of it.

“As coaches, our job is to nudge them in the right direction, guide them, but we don’t control them. They determine their own fate. And I don’t feel like we’ve focused well at all over the last month, and it just seemed like the right thing to do. And they communicated really well together and they drew up some nice plays.”

Kerr said he has no regrets, despite some blowback on social media and on the NBA TV telecast, mostly by analyst and former coach Sam Mitchell. There were those who thought this violated the unwritten rules of competition.

As in “showing up the opposition.”

Aware of that possibility, Kerr made a point of engaging Suns coach Jay Triano in a brief conversation after the game.

“I have to coach my team,” Kerr said. “I told Jay afterward, I said, ‘People may make a big deal of it but it had nothing to do with being disrespectful. It had to do with me trying to reach my team.’ I have not reached them for the last month.

“They’re tired of my voice; I’m tired of my voice. It’s been a long haul these last few years. I wasn’t reaching them. We just figured it’s probably a good night to pull a trick out of the hat and do something different.”

Despite this novel approach, there was one thing that didn’t change. The Warriors got off to another lackluster start, falling behind early and catching to take a 25-24 lead after one quarter.

Over the final three quarters, the Warriors outscored Phoenix 104-59.

Four veterans -- Andre Iguodala (who supervised the morning shootaround), David West, Stephen Curry and the inactive Draymond Green -- were responsible for most of the coaching duties, literally drawing up plays.

“It was collective effort,” Curry said. “We were just trying to stay locked in and enjoy the process of getting focused and knowing our sets, being thoughtful about what lineups are out there, what we’re trying to accomplish and execute.”

It was Curry who made the most glaring coaching gaffe of the evening, taking too long to draw up a play to open the third quarter, resulting a delay of game warning.

“I was horrible, actually,” he said. “I thought about a play and then forgot the second option and had two guys in the wrong place on the board.”

The one-game deviation, against a heavy underdog, accomplished its goal. The Warriors’ scoring output was their best since Dec. 30. They posted a season-high 16 blocks while holding the Suns to 34.7 percent shooting, the stingiest since restricting the Cavaliers to 31.8 percent in the Christmas Day.

“The players responded really well,” Kerr said. “When we’re focused, we are really tough to beat. And tonight we were focused, just having to count on each other and not hearing my voice.

“I would grade (the players) with an A in terms of their focus,” Kerr said. “And that was the whole point.”

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from 132-105 Game 3 win vs. Clippers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from 132-105 Game 3 win vs. Clippers

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES – There was not a single second of anything remotely resembling mercy this time.

Still stinging from blowing a 31-point lead in losing Game 2, the Warriors came out for Game 3 Thursday and jumped the Clippers from the opening tip and never let up, sprinting to a 132-105 victory at Staples Center.

Five Warriors scored in double figures, led by Kevin Durant’s 38 points in just under 30 minutes.

The Warriors looked practically invincible from start to finish. Their response to going up 31 in the midway through the third quarter this time was to push the lead to 33 entering the fourth.

Here are three takeaways from the victory that set an NBA record for consecutive playoff series with at least one road win (20) and gives the Warriors a 2-1 series lead:

Durant imposes his will

There was some curiosity about how Kevin Durant would respond after coach Steve Kerr made a plea for more assertive offense. Well, KD went after the Clippers as if they’d violated his status while insulting five generations of family and friends.

He was productive, scoring 38 points – including 27 in 18 sizzling first-half minutes – but also contributing seven assists, four rebounds, one block and a steal. He was plus-32 for the night.

Moreover, Durant consistently showed additional attributes of leadership, such as trying (but failing) to pull Shaun Livingston away from referee Jason Phillips before a technical foul was assessed and celebrating demonstratively with Klay Thompson after Klay threw down a ferocious dunk in the second quarter.

This was the KD the Warriors wanted, and they got him. All of him.

The defense never rested

The Warriors were hyperactive at both ends, but their defense was particularly nasty for the bulk of the game, limiting the Clippers to 35-percent shooting in the first half and 37.2 percent for the game.

Furthermore, through three quarters, the Warriors’ regular rotation harassed LA into 12 turnovers, off which they scored 20 points.

Even as whistles kept coming – 28 fouls against the Warriors, 25 against LA, 53 total – the Warriors maintained their intensity. Chief nemesis Lou Williams, the Game 2 hero with 36 points, managed 16 on 4-of-11 shooting. Another scoring threat, Danilo Gallinari, scored nine on 2-of-13 shooting.

Montrezl Harrell and JaMychal Green had solid games, but they are not enough to beat the Warriors on any night, certainly not this one.

No gifts this time

The Warriors committed 21 turnovers in Game 1 and vowed to do better in Game 2.

They then went out and delivered 22 gifts to the Clippers. LA scored 49 points off turnovers in the first two games.

[RELATED: Watch KD's huge block on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander]

The third time evidently is the charm, as prior to a garbage-time fourth quarter, the Warriors committed seven turnovers, off which LA scored seven points. They totaled 12 turnovers in all, giving the Clippers 15 points.

No Warrior committed more turnovers than Durant’s five. Given his comprehensive contributions on this night, he earned a pass.

Watch Kevin Durant's huge block on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in Game 3

Watch Kevin Durant's huge block on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in Game 3

Not today, rook.

Warriors star Kevin Durant sent that loud message to Clippers rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on Thursday night in Game 3 of their NBA playoff series in Los Angeles.

Our story begins late in the third quarter, with the Warriors winning big, when Gilgeous-Alexander tried to dunk on KD.

Narrator: It was a bad idea.

Durant finished Golden State’s 132-105 win with 38 points and seven assists. He also grabbed four rebounds, one block and one steal.

[RELATED: What we learned from KD, Warriors' dominant Game 3 win]

The lesson: He's Kevin Durant. Don't come after a motivated two-time NBA Finals MVP in the playoffs.