Warriors

Steve Kerr, Kevin Durant searching for answers after Celtics crush Warriors

Steve Kerr, Kevin Durant searching for answers after Celtics crush Warriors

OAKLAND – The Warriors put up one of their worst efforts of the season Tuesday night, with coach Steve Kerr coming away saying “it was embarrassing,” and Kevin Durant expressing confusion about the team’s recipe for success.

Informed that Kerr cited a lack of “anger” as a factor in the Warriors being blown off the floor, 128-95, by the Celtics, Durant paused and conveyed puzzlement.

“I thought we, um, move off of joy,” Durant said. “Now anger?”

Kerr had been asked about the defensive challenges being confronted by DeMarcus Cousins – in this game and in general – and the coach indicated, certainly in this game, the issues run deeper than one individual.

“We were not flying around. We were not giving the sort of effort it takes to win NBA game,” Kerr said. “The other stuff, I’ve got to do a better job in making sure we are in the right defensive schemes and get the right combinations on the floor. It’s a group effort and I’m the coach, so I’ve got to make sure I’m doing my job.

“It starts with a passion, an anger, an intensity, and it wasn’t there tonight.”

While the Celtics seemed to be on a mission from the opening tip, the Warriors seemed to be in chill mode, with their defense mostly consisting of lapses in focus, late rotations and perfunctory energy.

Kerr’s point, amplified by Stephen Curry, was that the Celtics were more determined than the Warriors. There is no question they were light on intensity, again, and anger might have provided some fuel.

“I disagree with that one,” Durant said, referring to the need for anger. “We’ve just got to ... all around, top to bottom, coaches and players, we’ve just got to be better.”

But Durant didn’t stop there.

He was reminded of a flip comment he made when he was introduced, saying the reason he signed with the Warriors was because of the presence of assistant coach Ron Adams (their relationship dates back to Adams’ two-year stint on the Oklahoma City Thunder staff). Durant was asked how he thought Adams, as a defensive specialist, might be coping with the lapses plaguing the team.

“It’s about how we’re all dealing with it,” Durant shot back. “The whole team, the whole organization. We’re family, right? That’s how we operate.

“I don’t think anybody in that locker room is anything but upset with the game we played. It’s not just Ron Adams.”

So, yes, there was more raw emotion after the game than there was for much of the first half, when the Warriors fell behind 73-48, lit up by Boston’s 63-percent shooting from the field. The Warriors are capable of coming back against most teams, but the Celtics were too far in the distance to be caught.

The Warriors got no closer than 17 (93-76) in the second half. The Celtics answered that with a 12-0 run to take a 105-76 lead into the fourth quarter.

The defending champions, playing on their home court for the first time in 10 days, were pantsed and spanked in front their fans, most of whom couldn’t bear to watch a final 12 minutes played only to meet regulations.

This was their fourth loss in six games, with many of them following the same script. Fall behind early, rally to come back and end up losing.

“We just have to want it, to want to figure it out,” Curry said.

That much is true. But this seems to run deeper than that. There is a vibe around this team that didn’t exist last season, and wasn’t very detectable early this season.

[RELATED: Watch Boogie take out frustration on Celtics in blowout loss]

The joy that is one of Kerr’s four tenets – along with mindfulness, compassion and competitiveness – is largely missing, other than when Curry is dancing in victory or the guys on the bench indulge in a celebratory moment. Disengagement levels have never been this high under Kerr.

Durant’s solution?

“Come back to tomorrow,” he said. “Watch film. And practice and see where we go from there. We usually bounce back pretty well. So we’ll see what happens.”

Sounds so simple. Clearly, though, it is not.

Warriors vs. Kings watch guide: Lineups, injuries and player usage

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USATSI

Warriors vs. Kings watch guide: Lineups, injuries and player usage

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Warriors have made a habit of beating the Kings in recent years, but that trend could change Sunday afternoon as the two teams match up for the first time this season.

Entering Sunday's game, the Warriors have won the last five meetings, sweeping last year’s season series. However, the Kings (11-14) are the team with postseason aspirations, while the Warriors (5-22) are NBA draft lottery-bound with most of their All-Stars out injured. 

[RELATED: How to watch Warriors vs. Kings online, on TV]

Before the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr gave an update on Eric Paschall's status.

Coverage begins on NBC Sports Bay Area at 4:30 p.m. and tipoff is scheduled for 5:40. 

PROJECTED LINEUPS 

Warriors
F TBA
F Draymond Green
C WIllie Cauley-Stein
G D'Angelo Russell
G Glenn Robinson III

Kings
G Cory Joseph
G Buddy Hield
C Richaun Holmes
F Nemanja Bjelica
F Harrison Barnes

INJURY REPORT

Kings: Kyle Guy (G League assignment) and DaQuan Jeffries (G League assignment) are out. De'Aaron Fox (left ankle sprain) is doubtful. 

Warriors: Ky Bowman (G League assignment), Stephen Curry (left-hand fracture), Alen Smailagic (G League assignment, Klay Thompson (left ACL rehabilitation) and Eric Paschall (left hip soreness) are out.

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Warriors: D'Angelo Russell will play against Luke Walton -- his former coach with the Los Angeles Lakers -- on Sunday afternoon, and Russell is building a healthy résumé. In 15 games, he's averaging 22.4 points and 6.1 assists, leading the battered Warriors in scoring. Alec Burks has scored in double figures in his last nine appearances. However, the Warriors defense still needs work, as Golden State is giving up 114.2 points per game. Former King Willie Cauley-Stein should get the start against his former team, something he seems excited about. 

Kings: Sharpshooter Buddy Hield is coming off one of his best games of the season, scoring 34 points and grabbing 12 rebounds against the New York Knicks on Friday evening. Over his last 10 games, Hield is averaging 26.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Despite losing Fox to an ankle injury last month, the Kings have inched into the postseason picture and entered Sunday seventh in the Western Conference. However, the Kings haven't won a game against the Warriors on the road since March 2018. 

OFFICIALS: Josh Tiven (No. 58, crew chief), Bill Kennedy (No. 55), Derek Richardson (No. 63) 

Warriors vs. Kings live stream: How to watch NBA game online, on TV

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USATSI

Warriors vs. Kings live stream: How to watch NBA game online, on TV

It'll be a battle of the Northern California teams as the Warriors host the Kings in San Francisco on MyTeams Day.

The Warriors hope to turn things around while they hold the worst record in the NBA. Perhaps a "turnaround" is overzealous and is not the right term, but something needs to change. 

On the other side of the ball, the Kings are coming off a tough loss to the Knicks on Friday which stopped a three-game winning streak.

The MyTeams festivities are extra special on Sunday with the Holiday Edition and the team is ready:

When: Sunday, Dec. 15, at 5:30 p.m. PT -- pregame coverage begins at 4:30 p.m.
TV Channel: NBC Sports Bay Area
Live Stream: MyTeams App