Warriors

Steve Kerr resorts to humor for control damage with Warriors in turmoil

Steve Kerr resorts to humor for control damage with Warriors in turmoil

OAKLAND -- They can’t deny the turmoil. The disgust is too visible, the frustration too consistent, the concerns too deeply embedded.

The Warriors these days are about as unhappy and disengaged as any point since 2014, when Steve Kerr took over as coach and they became the NBA’s gold standard.

So on Monday, roughly 16 hours after internal conflicts contributed to blowing a 16-point lead at home, Kerr resorted to humor in hopes of alleviating some of the gravity of this pivotal moment of the season.

Caught on video Sunday expressing sheer and profane frustration -- according to amateur lip-readers -- with the antics of forward Draymond Green during the loss to the Suns, Kerr opted to alter his statement.

“The lip-readers were wrong,” he said, eyes twinkling. “What I said was, ‘I beg to differ with Draymond’s approach tonight.’ Those are my exact words. I don’t know how somebody misconstrued that.”

Though Kerr shed no light on the precise source of his exasperation, league sources indicated at least part of it was related to Green and other Warriors making it a habit to question, sometimes aggressively, calls by officials.

Kerr did mention, without connecting it to any annoyance with Green, the team’s relationship with officials.

“We did have a good game going,” he said, referring to building a 27-11 lead over Phoenix in the first nine minutes. “And then things went south.

“We need to stop looking at the officials. We’re complaining too much to the referees. We’re expending too much energy arguing with the refs, instead of just playing. I don’t think that helped last night.

“We’re putting energy where it shouldn’t be,” Kerr summarized. “We need to put it where it needs to be.”

The misplacing of energy goes beyond the events of Sunday. It has been prevalent in too many games this season, with most of them resulting in defeat.

What made Sunday unique, however, was the breadth of the frustration. Not even the fans were spared.

Kevin Durant, as he headed to the locker room to have his right ankle examined, was overheard expressing irritation over the team not meeting its standard. DeMarcus Cousins didn’t conceal displeasure with being benched for the final 5:32 of a close game. Klay Thompson, interviewed postgame, expressed his disappointment in fans at Oracle Arena.

So, naturally, when asked about the team’s state of mind, Kerr was quick to reply.

“Frustrated,” he said. “Frustrated with our play, with ourselves, our approach. We all feel it.

“We’ve got to build some momentum. We’ve got to build better habits. We’ve got to stay connected emotionally. It’s the only way it can work.”

Yet it requires an iron commitment to stay connected in the age of public video and widespread trolling. Feelings get hurt. Reactions require maintenance. Anger festers and sometimes boils over.

When there is such maddening inconsistency from the team favored to win its third consecutive championship, every incident is magnified, every comment replayed, every loss dissected for deeper meaning.

That’s where the Warriors are. The irritations among them too often are on display.

Kerr did not divulge whether he had spoken with Green, but it is safe to presume they have.

“All of our players and coaches know we’ve got to be more consistent,” Kerr said. “But modern life ... if you don’t think those words have been uttered by every team in the history of basketball, you’re mistaken. It’s just that everything is on camera and lip-read, even when it’s the wrong interpretation.”

Which leaves Kerr and his staff trying to contain the fires within while team leaders frankly address making the corrections necessary to string together a few games that at least approach their standard.

[RELATED: What went right, what went wrong in loss to Suns]

And doing it knowing there are eyes and ears everywhere.

“It’s 2019,” Kerr said. “George Orwell was right; he just had the year wrong. He wrote '1984.' The title should have been '2012' or so. It’s modern life. Everything is recorded. Everything is filmed. I’ve decided I’m going to get a giant laminated board with all of my play calls and I’m going to turn into an NFL coach from here on out.”

Kerr was kidding, barely. At this stage, it might take something drastic for Warriors players and coaches to pull more of their best selves from what all too often are their worst selves.

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 124-122 overtime loss to Knicks

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 124-122 overtime loss to Knicks

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- In the battle of the worst teams in the NBA, the Warriors came up short.

In their latest effort -- a 124-122 overtime loss to the dysfunctional Knicks (5-20) at Chase Center -- the Warriors (5-21) were bullied from the start as New York built a 22-point first-half lead. 

For much of the season, Golden State's veteran core has been warned that these types of starts will not end in its favor, considering the Warriors' lack of talent. On Wednesday, the team didn't take heed to the message, losing their second straight game. 

Here are the takeaways.

Warriors get bullied early

Bad starts have been the norm for this iteration of the Warriors and Wednesday was no different. Through the first 24 minutes, the Knicks built an 18-point halftime lead as Julius Randle, Marcus Morris Sr., and rookie RJ Barrett scored 44 points combined through the first two quarters.

The Warriors responded after halftime, outscoring the Knicks 37-21 over a stretch in the second half and showed the effort they should have put forth at the beginning of the game. D'Angelo Russell sent the game into overtime with a late 3-pointer.

In previous years, with a star-studded roster, Golden State could afford such starts with Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson looming in the wings. Now, with a younger cast, these types of starts can't happen. 

Solid game from Draymond Green

In a season he's not expected to score, Green did just that Wednesday evening, finishing with 14 points in 34 minutes. 

Playing mostly point forward role, he grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 12 assists, helping Russell and Glenn Robinson reach double figures. With three minutes left in regulation, Green found Russell for a 3-pointer to bring the Warriors within two points. On the next possession, he grabbed a rebound, found Russell again, leading to another score to tie the game. 

This year has been a trying one for the three-time champion as he's trading wins for lessons, putting his arms around the young roster. But as he showed, Wednesday, he's still got some game. 

Eric Paschall rookie wall?

Sure looks like it after his latest output. In 17 minutes, Paschall finished with just six points on 2-of-6 from the field. Entering Wednesday, he was one of the best rookies in the league. However, he's shooting just 39 percent from the field over his last three games as a hip injury is impeding his progress. 

In Wednesday's loss, he was battered, frequently grimacing, even after jamming his hand. 

No matter how good Paschall was at the start of the season, a rookie wall was inevitable. His response in the coming days will be vital.

Watch rehabbing Klay Thompson hit half-court shot at Chase Center

Watch rehabbing Klay Thompson hit half-court shot at Chase Center

Klay Thompson has yet to play a game at Chase Center, but on Wednesday night, he was seen shooting on the Warriors' new home court.

Prior to the Warriors' game against the Knicks, Thompson spent a few minutes shooting and even nailed a half-court shot.

A day earlier, the All-Star shooting guard was seen shooting after Warriors practice.

Thompson is rehabbing from surgery on his left ACL and is still months away from returning to game action.

With the Warriors mired in a 5-20 season, fans will take all the positive developments they can get.

[RELATED: Ayesha says Steph's injury was 'really, really bad']

We'll be honest: It's good to see Klay's sweet stroke again.