SAN FRANCISCO -- Steve Kerr started his postgame press conference with a unique statement Thursday evening.
Following a 134-131 overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets, in which his team squandered a 19-point second-half lead, resulting in the Warriors' 10th straight loss. Amid the worst season under his watch, Kerr expressed optimism in a situation reserved for chaos.
"I thought our guys were great tonight," Kerr said. "They played really well together."
The Warriors were a cohesive unit during the first 24 minutes, holding the Nuggets to just 30 percent from the field while forcing 10 turnovers. By the end of the first half, Denver had shot just 15 of 49 from the field, with the Warriors showing signs of dominance along the way.
Nine minutes into the second quarter, Warriors forward Draymond Green picked up Nuggets guard Malik Beasley at half court, finishing the play blocking the guard at the rim to force a turnover. A minute later, Green blocked Monte Morris at the rim, momentarily preserving a 17-point lead.
While the start was a welcome sight, Kerr's words were earned by his team's heart down the stretch. When Denver used an 18-6 run to take a 111-108 lead in the fourth, the Warriors answered by scoring the next five points, including a 3-pointer from Eric Paschall to put the Warriors up two points with 10 seconds to go. When the Nuggets went up by seven in overtime, the Warriors responded with an 8-4 run in the final minute to earn their coach's praise.
"Fought back when Denver came at us in the second half with multiple runs," Kerr said. "We came back. Just couldn't quite get over the hump. Denver is a hell of a team and they deserve a lot of credit."
Golden State's latest loss comes at a time of peril for the Warriors.
With the loss, the Warriors earned their longest losing streak since 2002 - a season in which they finished 21-61. By the end of the evening, they had the NBA's worst record with 40 games to go. Amid the losses, the unit has found small improvements.
Damion Lee -- who signed a multi-year deal on Wednesday -- finished 21 points and six assists in 37 minutes. Over his last five games, he's averaging 13.6 points and five rebounds in 32 minutes.
As Lee continues to flourish, rookies Paschall and Jordan Poole seem to be finding roles of their own. After starting the season shooting just 26 percent from the field, Poole has made 41 percent of his 3-pointers over his last two games. Aside from his clutch shot Thursday, Paschall finished with 16 points, including a reverse baseline dunk in the fourth quarter to put the Warriors up.
"Both rookies have looked better of late," Kerr said. "It's good to see. It's a tough thing going through their rookie season. But I think they've both weathered some punches in their respective seasons and they're coming along nicely."
While Golden State's latest outing prompted praise from its coach, Kerr's biggest measure of success is winning. But for the moment, he'll applaud his team's latest step towards that goal.
"Proud of our guys' effort," Kerr said. "They continue to battle. I feel bad for them because they played well enough to win."